Turkish stance on Assad has never changed: Deputy PM

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I've been praying for Turkey for 25 years.

Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from Vermont, U.S. who has been in jail in Turkey since December 20-16, has been seen Within This undated film shot in Izmir, Turkey.

A US pastor began trial in Turkey Monday on charges he aided in the military coup attempt almost two years ago.

"I do not accept the charges mentioned in the indictment. I was never involved in any illegal activities", said Brunson, making his defense in Turkish.

Pakistani security personnel killed in attack from across Afghan border
The two countries are separated by the 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) Durand Line, which was drawn by British rulers in 1896. Afghanistan does not recognize it as an worldwide border and has objected to new fortifications being built by Pakistan.

Monday's court session will be attended by North Carolina senator Thom Tillis and US envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback.

Brunson's trial is one of several legal cases roiling U.S.

Washington officials say Ankara is using Brunson's case to force the U.S.to extradite the cleric, and they are calling for his release.

"Turkey's Syria policy isn't to stand with or against any country". Gulen has denied any hyperlink into this coup effort in which a lot more than 240 persons were murdered.

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But Bozdag insisted Turkey's longstanding opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had not changed. Turkey is a majority Muslim country though constitutionally secular.

Ismail Cem Halavurt said pastor Andrew Brunson, detained 18 months ago, faced the "totally unfounded" charge of aiding a terrorist organization and should be freed at Monday's hearing in the Mediterranean city of Izmir.

The indictment - based on the testimonies of witnesses, including three secret ones, and alleged digital evidence - claims the pastor worked to convert Kurds to Christianity to sow discord.

Turkey has designated both Mr Gulen's network and the PKK as terror groups, and accused My Gulen of fomenting an attempted military coup in the country in 2016, in which at least 250 people died.

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About 20 cases of snatching, robbery and molestation have been filed against him at various police stations in the city. A Kansas woman pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of her fiancé's 2-year-old daughter last year.

Halavurt said he believed Brunson would ultimately be acquitted, and there was no reason for his continued detention during trial. "Our expectation in your listening to is ending the arrest", he explained.

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