Pastor Andrew Brunson Facts: Trial For American Facing Terror Charges In Turkey

Clay Curtis
April 17, 2018

I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years'.

"I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years", added Brunson, who moved to the country in 1993 and opened his Izmir church in 2010.

"The start was very, very hard".

The Turkish government has carried out detentions and purges of tens of thousands of people after the failed coup. The indictment — based on the testimonies of witnesses, including three secret ones, and alleged digital evidence — claims the pastor worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord.

In February, NASA scientist Serkan Golge, a dual national, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for being a member of Gulen's movement in a conviction denounced by Washington.

A Christian pastor from North Carolina living in Turkey for 23 years, Brunson has been indicted on charges of helping the group that Turkey holds responsible for the failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He denies any wrongdoing, and the United States has repeatedly demanded his release. "There is a victim and we must first of all assure his right to freedom and security", said Halavurt.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Brunson was running the Resurrection Church in the western city of Izmir and applying for permanent residency when he was detained in October 2016.

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Brownback described the trial as a "religious freedom case".

"Turkey's Syria policy is not a policy of being on the same side or being opposed to another country", Bozdag told reporters in Qatar in response to a journalist's question about Macron's remarks.

After visiting Brunson in prison in March, Tillis stated that "Pastor Brunson is being used as a political pawn by some elements of the Turkish government".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested in September 2017 that Brunson could be freed in exchange for the USA handing over Gulen, though the US has not suggested it is open to such a move. "We are also against the unconditional support for the (Syrian) regime and we are at odds with Iran and Russian Federation on this", he said.

The judge ruled on Monday that Brunson must stay in jail after deeming him to be a flight risk.

Halavurt said that while Brunson was physically fine, he was anxious for his day in court.

The ACLJ called the decision "an escalation" and said it was "devastating" to Brunson and his family, some of whom were in court Monday - including his wife, Norine, who was initially imprisoned with him.

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