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Turkey doubles down in pastor row with US

American pastor Andrew Brunson, behind bars in Turkey on terrorism-related charges, risks up to 35 years in jail in a politically loaded case that critics describe as “an eclipse of reason.”
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A Turkish prosecutor is seeking up to 35 years in jail for Andrew Brunson, the American pastor at the heart of a bitter diplomatic spat between Ankara and Washington. Held on terror-related charges since October 2016, Brunson has seemingly become a bargaining chip, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting last year that the pastor could go home if Washington extradited Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.

According to media reports, a prosecutor in the western city of Izmir where Brunson is held has finally drawn up an indictment against the 50-year-old, who has been based in Turkey for more than two decades. Brunson pastored the Resurrection Church in Izmir, where he lived with his family as part of a tiny Protestant community. Neither Brunson nor his lawyer has seen the indictment yet, though it was leaked to the media this week.

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