United States pastor goes on trial in Turkey after arrest in coup crackdown

United States pastor goes on trial in Turkey after arrest in coup crackdown

His trial is one of several legal cases which have strained relations between Turkey and the United States, who are also at odds over US support for a Kurdish militia in northern Syria which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.

At the Resurrection Church in Izmir, the congregation prayed on Sunday for Brunson, and his wife Norine read out a message in which he talked of the darkness and silence of his detention. Also in court were Sam Brownback, the US ambassador at large for religious freedoms, and US Senator Thom Tillis. The prosecution is seeking a jail sentence of up to 35 years.

Mr Brunson's lawyer, Cem Halavurt has called the charges "totally unfounded", saying they are based on testimony from secret informants. "He has expectations and a hope". Yours is not - he is living in Pennsylvania.

Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor held for more than a year in Turkey, goes on trial on Monday on charges of aiding terror groups in a case that has raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.

More news: Markets recover early loss; Sensex closes 100 points above

Mr Gulen has denied any involvement in the attempted coup, and the European Union has said it does not share Turkey's view that his network is a terror organisation. More than 50,000 people were arrested in the crackdown, as well as 100,000 state employees fired and newspapers and TV stations shuttered.

"Turkey's Syria policy isn't to stand with or against any country. There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out", Bozdag told reporters.

While Turkey is cooperating with both Russian Federation and Iran to wind down some of the violence in Syria, Ankara has long demanded that President Bashar al-Assad must go and has backed rebels against him.

Furnari said she isn't sure why her father was arrested.

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