Turkey: Imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson Could Face 35-Year Sentence

US Pastor Goes On Trial In Turkey, Further Straining Relations

Turkey: Imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson Could Face 35-Year Sentence

President Trump has expressed his support for American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who is now on trial in Turkey. Trump tweeted. The government was quiet on the USA president's remarks when Daily Sabah went to print, but Mahir Ünal, deputy chair and spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, kindly warned Trump not to intervene in the case. She contended that false testimonies and witnesses are being used to build a case against Brunson. The case is further straining relations between the United States and Turkey.

The chief of the American Center for Law and Justice, which fights through its affiliates around the globe for religious rights, is calling on the nation to turn up the pressure on Turkey, where the government has put an American Christian pastor on trial for his faith.

On Wednesday, Wess Mitchell, the top US diplomat for Europe, said the charges against the 50-year-old Brunson were "laughable," according to the Associated Press. Thom Tillis, R-NC, of Brunson's home state, and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback were at the trial.

In a brief statement, the US State Department said prosecutors have no case against the pastor.

We are very disappointed. "Of course I have hope; I want to get a call saying my father is coming home".

"I want the whole truth to be revealed", Brunson told the court.

The Brunson case has further hiked tensions between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the United States, with US President Donald Trump raising the issue in talks with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "For 16 months, I have been separated from my wife".

Brunson, who denies any wrongdoing, was arrested in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, as well as a network led by USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed by Turkey for the coup attempt.

"I reject the charges mentioned in the indictment".

'I haven't done anything against Turkey. "I haven't been involved in any illegal activity", Brunson told the court, according to Turkish newspaper The Hürriyet Daily News. On the contrary, I love Turkey.

The case has raised tensions - further - between the USA and Turkey, which in recent years has been regressing toward a Shariah-compliant theocracy.

Relations are already strained over American backing for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria despised by Ankara and the jailing of two employees at American missions in Turkey.

"The United States cares deeply about our relationship with Turkey", Brownback told reporters during a recess, according to Reuters.

Senator Tillis said there was "no deal", adding: "This is about what we believe is an innocent man who has been in prison for a year and a half". Brunson was arrested in October 2016 for allegedly aiding a separatist group. I am a Christian. "I did not join an Islamic movement".

Gulen denies any role in the 2016 coup, which killed 250 people.

Numbering just several thousand, the Protestant community in overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Turkey largely comprises converts from Islam, expatriates and refugees.

To everyone's dismay, the judge then decreed that the trial would not resume until May 7th, three weeks later.

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