United States pastor in Turkey on trial for terror ties

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Washington has known for Brunson's re lease though Erdogan suggested this past season his fate might possibly be associated with that of US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition Ankara has sought to face charges within the coup endeavor. Brunson denies any wrongdoing.

A USA pastor began trial in Turkey Monday on charges he aided in the military coup attempt almost two years ago. "I was never involved in any illegal activities", said Brunson, wearing a white shirt and black suit and making his defence in Turkish. I did not join an Islamic movement.

The agency said the pastor delivered his defence statement in Turkish.

Monday's court session is going to be appreciated by NY senator Thom Tillis and also USA envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback. "There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out", Bozdag told reporters. "We completely believe (that) Andrew Brunson is innocent".

"The reaction of the USA and the United Kingdom and France against the assaults of Assad is very important although it came late", Cavusoglu said. They want the pastor to serve another 20 years if he is found guilty of obtaining state secrets for political and military spying purposes using his religious work as cover.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday welcomed the strikes, which he described as "appropriate" and strongly condemned the alleged chemical attack.

Erdogan fired back at Washington, demanding that the USA return Gulen to Turkey. "It is possible to give him away", Erdogan claimed in September.

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.

Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, told The Associated Press he expected the pastor's acquittal, arguing Sunday that the "weak" indictment lacked sufficient evidence to make the case hold up in court.

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