SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK: We welcome the news that Serkan Golge has been released from prison today,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.

“We will continue to follow Mr. Golge’s case closely along with those involving our own locally employed staff” in Turkey, she told.

Ortagus called on Turkey to ensure that “he can return home as soon as possible.”

Golge was detained in July 2016 on a visit to his country of birth as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked down on alleged supporters of self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the leadership accused of orchestrating a failed coup.

Golge was sentenced in 2018 to seven and a half years in prison despite State Department protests that he was convicted without credible evidence.

Turkey in October also released an American pastor caught up in the crackdown, Andrew Brunson, who had become a cause celebre among President Donald Trump’s conservative Christian base.