ALIAGA, Turkey (Reuters) – Witnesses told a Turkish court on Friday that previous testimonies attributed to them against an American pastor were inaccurate, heightening expectations that Andrew Brunson could be released and returned to the United States.
The case against Brunson, an evangelical preacher from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years and was arrested two years ago, has led to U.S. tariffs against Turkey and drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump.
Pastor - Links - Militants - Supporters - Fethullah
The pastor is charged with links to Kurdish militants and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Brunson has denied the accusation and Washington has demanded his immediate release.
One witness denied telling prosecution witness Levent Kalkan, who joined Friday’s hearing by videolink, that a member of the church was linked to militants.
Mr - Kalkan - Witness
“I did not say it to Mr. Kalkan. I heard it from him,” the witness said.
“I am really shocked now,” Kalkan said in response. Kalkan also told the court that some of his previous testimony had been “misunderstood”.
Brunson - Courtroom - Town - Aliaga - Suit
Brunson appeared in the courtroom in the western coastal town of Aliaga wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie. His wife Norine looked on from the visitors’ seating area as he listened to testimony from defense and prosecution witnesses.
“I do not understand how this is related to me,” Brunson said after the judge questioned one of a series of witnesses heard before a lunch...
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