Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria

Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria

His trial is one of several legal cases which have strained relations between Turkey and the United States, who are also at odds over USA support for a Kurdish militia in northern Syria which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.

If convicted, he faces up to 35 years behind bars. I've been praying for Turkey for 25 years.

"I don't accept any of the allegations or accusations", the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Brunson as telling the court in the town of Aliaga, some 60 kilometres (38 miles) north of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, rejects the accusations. "I was never involved in any illegal activities", said Brunson, making his defense in Turkish. Also in court were Sam Brownback, the US ambassador at large for religious freedoms, and US Senator Thom Tillis.

Brunson's trial is one of several legal cases roiling U.S.

Relations between Turkey and the United States were already strained over American support for Kurdish militias in Syria, which have been targeted by Turkish forces.

Brunson was arrested in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, as well as a network led by USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed by Turkey for the coup attempt. Gulen has denied any hyperlink into this coup effort in which a lot more than 240 persons were murdered. Tens of thousands of Turks have been arrested or lost their jobs over alleged connections with the coup bid.

"The Administration is deeply concerned about this case", Brownback told reporters outside the courthouse.

Ismail Cem Halavurt stated Andrew Brunson, detained faced the &ldquordquo; control of aiding a terrorist association and should really be freed at rsquo & Monday.

Izmir's prosecutor's office said that sufficient evidence was obtained to charge Brunson with aiding armed terrorist organizations and obtaining confidential government information for political and military espionage.

Turkey has designated both Mr Gulen's network and the PKK as terror groups, and accused My Gulen of fomenting an attempted military coup in the country in 2016, in which at least 250 people died.

Halavurt claimed he believed Brunson would ultimately be acquitted, and there was no reason behind his continuing detention during trial.