Turkish Court Rejects US Pastor's Appeal for Release From Detention

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 8:55 AM
Turkish Court Rejects US Pastor's Appeal for Release From Detention

A Turkish court on Wednesday rejected U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson’s appeal to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted, although a ruling from a higher court on the matter is still forthcoming.

A decision could come in the next week, according to Reuters.

“A ruling can come tomorrow, or even tonight. These are appeals that require fast decision making because they are related to an individual’s freedoms,” Brunson’s attorney Ismail Cem Halavurt told Reuters. 

The case now lies at the heart of a bitter row between NATO allies Turkey and United States, who have been growing apart for years over a series of disagreements on Syria, their perception of security threats and defense deals.

The evangelical pastor is accused of terrorism charges and aiding the network of a U.S.-based Islamic preacher blamed by Ankara for masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016 against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have repeatedly urged Turkey to release Brunson, with the U.S. levying sanctions against two Turkish ministers over his detainment. Last week, the U.S. also announced plans to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. 

Turkey has retaliated by announcing Wednesday that it will increase tariffs on certain U.S. products, including on cars, rice, alcohol, coal and cosmetics.

According to Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay, the tariffs were increased "within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the deliberate economic attacks by the United States."

If Brunson is found guilty, he could face up to 35 years in prison. His next hearing is scheduled for October 12.