In 2016, there was an attempted coup against the Turkish government, but it failed.
Following the failed coup, Turkey began clamping down and arresting anyone suspected of having any dealings, no matter how remotely, to those behind the coup.
Consequently, Pastor Andrew Brunson, from North Carolina, who had been ministering with a church in Izmir, was arrested and charged with treason and terror.
Brunson was found guilty and sentenced to prison.
Many in the United States and Turkey had been praying for Brunson’s release.
On Friday, it was announced that Brunson was being freed and allowed to leave Turkey.
(Fox News) – Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who was imprisoned and then placed under house arrest in Turkey due to his alleged ties to an outlawed group, was ordered freed on Friday and sentenced to time served — and is now expected to stop in Germany for a medical exam before returning to the U.S.
The Turkish judge’s ruling ended a tense diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Turkey that began after Brunson’s October 2016 detention on terror and treason charges. Turkey targeted the 50-year-old pastor as part of a massive government crackdown following a failed coup months earlier. Brunson was officially sentenced to three years and one month in prison for the conviction; but, because he had already served two years in detention, he wasn’t required to spend any more time behind bars.
Brunson appeared Friday at a prison complex in Izmir for his fourth hearing, telling the courtroom he’s “an innocent man.”
“I love Jesus. I love Turkey,” Brunson said, according to the Associated Press. Witnesses later said he wept as the verdict was announced…
Brunson, and his church here in the States, has been involved in ministry with a church in Izmir and that was the reason Brunson was there at the time of his arrest.
However Turkish prosecutors at his original trial claimed that Brunson was connected to US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen who they claim was the man who orchestrated the attempted coup.
It’s not uncommon for other countries, especially those who are atheist (communist) or Islamic, to target American clergy and accuse them of crimes against the state.
I know a former American missionary to a communist state that spent several years in captivity, because he was a Christian.
He told me afterwards that he often thought of the Apostles and Paul who were imprisoned for the sake of Christ and my friend counted it an honor to counted along with them.
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