Turkey distances itself from Iran, Russia and United States on Syria


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

"I've never done something against Turkey". I've been praying for Turkey for 25 years.

Andrew Brunson, a U.S. 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 trial begins today in Aliaga, a town in western Turkey.

"I do not accept the charges mentioned in the indictment. I had no relations with anyone engaged in such activity", Brunson said. His wife was in the courtroom, as were North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and USA envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback.

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

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. "If this serves the interests of our policy on Syria, we will take joint actions both with the United States, and with Russian Federation and Iran", Bozdag told the NTV broadcaster, commenting on Macron's statement.

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Gulen denies any association with the coup bid. "There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out", Bozdag told reporters in Qatar. Turkey is a majority Muslim country though constitutionally secular.

Andrew Brunson goes on trial on charges of aiding terror groups in a case that has raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.

The indictment - based on the testimony of witnesses, including three secret ones, and digital evidence - claims the pastor worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord.

Halavurt said he believed Brunson would ultimately be acquitted, and there was no reason for his continued detention during trial.

Mr Brunson's daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, told a USA commission investigating the crackdown in Turkey that she had postponed her wedding in her father's absence. &ldquoWe desire Brunson to become freed instantly.