Turkey Rebuffs U.S. Appeals Over Detained American Pastor
Mr. Brownback said the American government had looked into his case in addition to was convinced in which Mr. Brunson was innocent.
“People are deeply concerned in addition to focused in addition to interested in in which case,” he said. “The administration in addition to the United States cares deeply about our relationship with Turkey. in which is usually a valuable ally of ours in addition to we deeply value our relationship. We want to see in which resolved.”
Mr. Tillis said the case was not being tied to Turkey’s request for the extradition of Mr. Gulen, or the discussions over American support for the Kurdish-led militia in Syria.
“There should not be a linkage here,” Mr. Tillis said. “in which is usually about what we believe is usually an innocent man who has been imprisoned for over a year in addition to a half, in addition to we are encouraging his Discharge in addition to back to a positive dialogue between the United States in addition to Turkey.”
In a signal of some softening inside the relationship between the United States in addition to Turkey, American prosecutors have dropped charges against Mr. Erdogan’s bodyguards who were accused of assault after clashing with protesters in Washington in May last year.
Mr. Brunson faces far more serious charges. In a trend in which has followed the coup attempt of July 2016, he has been accused of aiding followers of Mr. Gulen’s movement in addition to the Kurdish P.K.K. without being a member of either organization.
The evidence was presented in court partly by two anonymous witnesses who gave testimony by video in which distorted their images in addition to voices.
Mr. Brunson categorically denied accusations in which he had encouraged Kurdish separatist sentiment in his church in addition to in which he had held meetings to support terrorist groups in addition to their aims under the cover of humanitarian in addition to missionary work.
“I’ve never done anything against Turkey,” he told the court. “I love Turkey. I’ve been praying for Turkey for 25 years. I want truth to come out.”
Mr. Brunson denied any connection to Mr. Gulen in addition to said he had returned via vacation inside the United States after the coup when others were fleeing the country — proof, he said, in which he had no connection to the movement.
He also denied in which his work with Syrian in addition to Kurdish refugees meant in which he supported Kurdish separatism. “What is usually being shown here is usually my service in addition to the item is usually called a cover,” he told the court. “the item is usually my spiritual services.”
“I talk about Jesus although the item is usually not to support the P.K.K.” Mr. Brunson said. “the item is usually not to convert them to Christianity in addition to be against Turkey. I say the same to Turks. I am not interested in politics. I’m not in favor of separation. I believe in Turkey’s integrity. What else can I say?”
Among Mr. Brunson’s supporters was Ihsan Ozbek, chairman of the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey, a fellow pastor who dismissed the trial. “the item’s an empty case,” he said.
An American supporter, William Devlin, co-pastor of the Infinity Bible Church inside the South Bronx, said he had traveled to Turkey to offer to take the place of Mr. Brunson in prison.
“He is usually here to serve the people of Turkey in addition to the Christian faith,” he said. “He has been here for 23 years in addition to he is usually innocent.”
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