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us pastor goes on trial in turkey for terror links, spying

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us pastor goes on trial in turkey for terror links, spying

aliaga, turkey — an american pastor accused of ties to terror groups and spying in turkey went on trial on monday, in a case that has strained ties between turkey and the united states.andrew craig brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from north carolina, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and "espionage."he was arrested in the aftermath of a failed military coup in 2016, for alleged links to both the outlawed kurdistan workers' party, or pkk, and a network led by u.s.-based muslim cleric fethullah gulen, who is blamed by turkey for the coup attempt.brunson, who served as the pastor of izmir resurrection church with a small protestant congregation and has lived in turkey for 23 years, denies all allegations.his trial opened in the town of aliaga, some 60 kilometers (38 miles) north of the aegean coastal city of izmir, a year and half after his arrest, with court officials reading the prosecutors' indictment. north carolina senator thom tillis and sam brownback, u.s. ambassador-at-large for religious freedoms were observing the trial, turkey's private dogan news agency reported.prosecutors are seeking 15 years in prison against the pastor for alleged crimes committed in the name of gulen's group and the pkk, and a further 20 years for allegedly obtaining state secrets for political and military spying purposes using his religious work as cover.the indictment — based on the testimon...