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As trial of Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, which has escalated tension in US-Turkey relations, has been discussed through disinformation and “espionage” charges covered by widespread media, we’ve compiled the process in its clearest summary.
- Pastor of Protestant İzmir Diriliş (Resurrection) Church, Andrew Craig Brunson and his wife applied to İzmir Directorate of Immigration Authority in August 2016 to extend their residency permit. Brunson has been living in Turkey for 20 years.
- Sending the application to Ankara, İzmir Directorate of Immigration Authority started routing correspondence with the Ministry of Interior.
- In these correspondences, the Ministry of Interior says, “It has been determined that the suspect requesting temporary residency permit many times while he is eligible to get permanent residency, and this suspicion caused intention of the suspect”.
- After the investigation was launched upon “questioning of his intention”, an information notice was sent to İzmir Immigration Authority.
- Pastor Brunson and his wife went to the directorate upon call of İzmir Immıgration Authority on October 7, 2016.
- In the directorate, Brunson and his wife were informed of the decision not to grant residency document as per code G-82 (Activity Threat Against National Security) imposed on “foreign nationals who don’t comply with the laws of Republic of Turkey).
- The couple was sent to Repatriation Centre located in Harmandalı, İzmir to be deported. His wife was released with international travel ban on October 19, 2016.
- Pastor Brunson, who was held in the Repatriation Center until midnight on November 8, 2016, was taken to the İzmir Anti-Terror Branch Directorate.
- While the procedures of deportation were still continuing, an ‘anonymous witness’ priest gave deposition at the Prosecutor’s Office against Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson as part of the FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, which is held responsible for the coup attempt on July 15, 2016) investigation.
- In the deposition of the anonymous witness, it was alleged that Brunson engaged in missionary activities in a number of cities in Turkey and stated that the FETÖ was not an organization improving interreligious dialogue, but a religious formation.
- Andrew Craig Brunson and his wife were referred to courthouse on these allegations on December 9, 2016. While the pastor was arrested, his wife was released.
- In the indictment prepared for Brunson after 18 months, the pastor faced up to 15 years in prison on charge of “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization as a non-member” and up to 20 years in prison on charge of “obtaining information of the state, which needs to remain confidential with regard to state security, for purposes of political and military espionage.”
- On July 25, the court ruled that Pastor Brunson shall be released from prison and placed under house arrest. First, the US did not find the ruling of the court “enough” and the number of statements regarding sanctions to be imposed on Turkey by the US increased after this point.
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