US Leader held in Turkey for his Christian Beliefs, lawyer says

Turkey arrests 140 more people over failed 2016 coup attempt

Detained American pastor goes on trial in Turkey

"In an indication of the importance of the case for Washington, also in court were Sam Brownback, the USA ambassador at large for religious freedoms (sic), and Sen". On March 13, Turkish prosecutors indicted Pastor Brunson on terrorism and espionage related charges, seeking a sentence of up to 35 years imprisonment.

"I do not accept the charges mentioned in the indictment".

"I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years", Brunson said. On the contrary, I love Turkey.

The government says the purges and detentions aim to remove from state institutions and other parts of society the supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based, self-exiled religious leader blamed by Turkey for the attempted coup.

Both the Gulen movement and the PKK are banned by Turkey as terror groups.

"We are deeply disappointed that Turkish officials today made a decision to prolong their prosecution and unjust imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson", said USCIRF Chairman Dr. Daniel Mark.

Relations are already tense over American backing for a Kurdish militia in Syria despised by Ankara and the jailing of two employees at American missions in Turkey.

"This, has been held, where he is innocent, is an impediment for our relationship moving forward", Brownback said.

Macron said: 'With these strikes and this intervention, we separated the Russians and the Turks on this issue. the Turks condemned the chemical strike and supported the operation that we conducted'. "We want Brunson to be freed immediately".

Aliaga. 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.

Erdogan has floated the idea of a swap - Brunson in exchange for Gulen, a legal permanent resident in Pennsylvania - in a deal that would amount to hostage negotiating, according to Brunson's lawyers.

During a May 2017 meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Trump called for Brunson's release and return to the US.

The US authorities in November and February quietly dropped all charges against 11 bodyguards of Erdogan accused of attacking protesters during the Turkish strongman's visit to Washington previous year.

The opposition, Turkey's Western allies and local and worldwide rights groups accuse the government of using the coup attempt as a pretext to bypass parliament and silence opposition in the country.

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