Turkish star witnesses against US pastor Andrew Brunson are his expelled congregants
Source: Religion News Service
IZMIR, Turkey (RNS) — As Turkish prosecutors prepare for the high-profile trial of American pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism-related charges, their case points directly to his small evangelical church and the internal strife stemming from his outreach to Syrian refugees.
The prosecutors’ 62-page indictment portrays Brunson’s Resurrection Church in Izmir as a hotbed for insurgents. It quotes witnesses, some named and others anonymous, who formerly had close ties to the congregation but have since turned on its leader amid a rising tide of Turkish nationalism.
One witness, Murat Candanbaglan, told prosecutors that he heard congregants divulge Brunson’s true mission: to found a separate country for Kurdish separatists. Another witness, Guven Dilsen, said he cut ties with Brunson after hearing him refer to part of Turkey as “Kurdistan.” A third, Levent Kalkan, said the congregation had two types of people: those “who loved their country” and others “sympathetic to terrorism and who had separatist views.”