Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Turkey does not stand by any country on Syria: Deputy PM

Turkey does not stand by any country on Syria: Deputy PM

Andrew Brunson goes on trial on charges of aiding terror groups in a case that has raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.

Brunson has been indicted on charges of assisting the band which Turkey retains in charge of the failed coup from President Tayyip Erdogan.

A USA pastor denied allegations of links to a group accused of orchestrating a failed military coup in Turkey as he went on trial on Monday in a case that has compounded strains in U.S.

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedoms, observed the trial.

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"There is evidence that shows Brunson was arrested due to his faith", Halavurt told Reuters on the eve of the trial, saying Brunson's religious role had been "classified as aiding terror organizations".

He was arrested in the aftermath of a failed military coup in 2016, for alleged links to both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and a network led by US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed by Turkey for the coup attempt.

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The indictment says the charges are based on evidence obtained from Brunson's phone, as well as information from witnesses.

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"Give him (Gulen) to us, and we will try (Brunson) and return him", Erdogan said previous year. The prosecution is trying to find a jail sentence of upto 35 decades.

For Brunson, the Chairman flew on Sunday in the Resurrection Church in Izmir, and his wife Norine read a message out at that he spoke about quiet and this darkness with his detention.

"The United States cares deeply about our relationship with Turkey", Brownback said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Mr Brunson's daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, told a United States commission investigating the crackdown in Turkey that she had postponed her wedding in her father's absence. He signed it off: "Your brother Andrew, imprisoned for God".

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