The justified court decision on American evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson's case was delivered yesterday, proving that the pastor had connections with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
The court decision revealed that Brunson actually cooperated and established solidarity with FETÖ over time, although the pastor expressed that he has no links with the terrorist group during his defense.
Brunson, who worked as a pastor at the Evangelic Resurrection Church in the western city of İzmir for the past 20 years, was arrested in Turkey in September 2016 for alleged links to the PKK and FETÖ, the group that orchestrated a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
After being transferred this July from jail to house arrest, he was sentenced to just over three years in prison but released on time served and his good behavior in custody, enabling him to return to the U.S.
The 124-page decision was written by the 2nd High Criminal Court of İzmir. The decision stated that the pastor used his FETÖ connection, especially the group's emphasis on "inter-faith dialogue," to solve diplomatic problems he has. It is also expressed that Brunson received support from Bekir Baz, a senior FETÖ figure who was responsible from the terrorist group's activities in the Aegean region and is a fugitive right now.
Despite Brunson's denial of his relationship with Baz during his trial, statements from witnesses of the case, A.D., G.D. and an anonymous witness with the code name "Dua," has voided the pastor's defense, the decision underlined.
Referring to the pastor's connection with the local authorities in southeastern Turkey, the decision made it clear that such a connection could have only been possible through the support of some influential ties since it took place in a time when the terrori
st activities were quite intense in the region.
"The fugitive suspects of FETÖ [who were believed to be in relation with the pastor] are certainly the kind of people who can arrange such connections," the decision underlined.
On July 15, 2016, FETÖ tried a coup, using its military infiltrators. Approximately 251 people were killed and over 2,000 others were injured in the coup attempt that was thwarted thanks to a strong public resistance. Tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested in the aftermath of the coup attempt.
Authorities have been carrying out daily operations to capture FETÖ suspects since the attempt.