ALIAGA (TURKEY): An American pastor is going on trial in Turkey accused of ties to terror groups and spying, 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."
The trial begins today in Aliaga, a town in western Turkey. Brunson was arrested in December 2016 for alleged links to both outlawed Kurdish rebels and a network led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed military coup that year.
Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, rejects the accusations. Washington has demanded his release.