The performance of a free space optical (FSO) communication system is significantly affected by various atmospheric turbulence conditions and pointing errors (PEs) apart from the additive noise, which is assumed to be Gaussian. Optical pre-amplifiers are an essential component of FSO systems for improving the receiver sensitivity. However, optical pre-amplification results in amplified spontaneous emission (ASE), which dominates the receiver thermal and shot noises. The square law photodetection process at the receiver in a FSO system necessitates the consideration of chi-square statistics for the decision variable contrary to the Gaussian approximation that is widely used in the literature. In this paper, we evaluate the bit error rate (BER) performance of a FSO system assuming non-return-to-zero on-off keying modulation in the presence of ASE noise under weak, moderate to strong, and very strong atmospheric turbulence regimes and PEs. We also derive asymptotic BER expressions for the considered FSO system for large values of the signal-to-noise ratio in terms of simple elementary functions. Further insight into the system is provided by performing a diversity analysis. © 2017 Optical Society of America.