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April 16, 2018

ALLIES: US pastor faces terror charges in fraught trial in Turkey. “Turkey has used the pastor as a diplomatic pawn, hoping to trade him for a U.S.-based Muslim cleric Turkey blames for masterminding a failed military coup.”

Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, is facing up to 35 years in prison on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member” and “espionage.” The trial begins Monday in western Izmir province.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016 for alleged links to both an outlawed Kurdish insurgent group and the network of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric who Turkey blames for a masterminding a failed military coup that year. The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies the claim.

It wasn’t a failed coup — it’s a successful purge.