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An American pastor arrested in Turkey in 2016 is facing life imprisonment after he was apprehended in retaliation for the U.S.’s refusal to extradite a political enemy of the Turkish president.
Turkish authorities arrested pastor Andrew Brunson of North Carolina in October of 2016 and charged him with membership in a terrorist organization after the U.S. refused to extradite imam Fethullah Gülen. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Gülen orchestrated the failed 2016 coup in Turkey.
Prosecutors - Indictment - Brunson - Tuesday - Life
Turkish prosecutors made clear in their indictment of Brunson on Tuesday that they seek to imprison him for life, according to The Associated Press.
A court must still approve the indictment before prosecution against Brunson can proceed. The goal of life imprisonment lends further credence to Erdogan’s threat in May 2017 that Turkey would not release any foreign captives until their respective governments extradite Erdogan’s enemies, Gülen foremost among them.
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Gülen is a Turkish Muslim cleric who has lived in Pennsylvania for 20 years and who some acknowledge as the second most powerful man in Turkey. He is the head of a large Islamic movement known as Hizmet, which translates as “service,” whose followers are known as Gülenists. The movement largely promotes a tolerant version of Islam centered around education and the principles of modesty and altruism.
Gülenists - Allies - Erdogan - Rise - Power
The Gülenists were allies of Erdogan during his rise to power, but eventually became political rivals vying for governmental control. Erdogan blamed the Gülenists for the failed coup in 2016, but Gülen has denied any involvement and has instead asserted that Erdogan orchestrated the coup as a...
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