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The effects of pointing errors on the performance of a free-space optical laser communication system are studied. The log-normal and gamma-gamma irradiance probability density function models have been considered to include the effects of optical turbulence. An expression for the mean intensity under pointing fluctuations is derived. Results for ergodic and outage channel capacities are presented. Since the irradiance statistics vary with pointing fluctuations, a wave-optics-based approach is proposed to evaluate the capacity expressions. Although, in general, turbulence degrades communications link performance, it can reduce sensitivity to pointing errors by increasing the effective beam radius. Finally, we present analytical expressions for evaluating the bit-error-rate performance of the on -off keying system in the presence of pointing errors, and provide error performance results.