Source: The Washington Post
ALIAGA, Turkey — A Turkish court on Wednesday rejected appeals to release Andrew Brunson, an American pastor being tried on terrorism-related charges whose prosecution and lengthy imprisonment have become a flash point in the increasingly testy relationship between the United States and Turkey.
Brunson, from North Carolina, has been charged with espionage and collusion with terrorist organizations, including Kurdish militants. Brunson’s supporters and independent analysts have called the accusations baseless and say he is being used as a bargaining chip by Turkey to win concessions from the United States.
He has been held by Turkish authorities for nearly two years. Brunson’s supporters said they had been hopeful he might be released after Wednesday’s hearing amid signs of a recent thaw in the U.S.-Turkey relationship and after a chummy encounter between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO meeting in Brussels last week.