U.S. pastor faces terror charges in fraught trial in Turkey

US pastor faces terror charges in fraught trial in Turkey

Turkish stocks up nearly 1 percent at close

The relationship between the United States and Turkey is likely to come under pressure as long as a USA pastor remains in jail, a US official responsible for worldwide religious freedom said on Monday.

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.

Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the group that Ankara holds responsible for the failed 2016 coup against President Tayyip Erdogan.

If convicted, he faces up to 35 years behind bars.

Prosecutors say Mr Brunson worked with a group led by Mr Gulen, who is living in exile in Pennsylvania in the United States, as well as with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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.

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Andrew Brunson, a USA 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.

"The (pastor) we have is on trial".

"Turkey is neither chasing the same goals as Iran, Russia nor is it a country chasing the same objectives as the US", Bozdag said. Turkey has formally sought the extradition of Mr Gulen, but the United States says it has not been given sufficient evidence to back up the request.

A replicate of Brunson's indictment noticed by Reuters accuses him of doing work together with Gulen's community and also the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has battled an insurgency in southeast Turkey and is designated a terrorist group by the United States and eu.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative Christian group in the U.S., has called Brunson a "hostage of the Turkish government". "Our prior expectation from the hearing is ending the arrest", he said.

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