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CHRONOLOGY Twists and turns in case related to US pastor in Turkey

Europe
12.10.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - The trial of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical US pastor at the centre of a diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara, concluded on Friday with the court in Izmir deciding to lift his house arrest and travel ban.

Two years ago, Brunson was swept up in a wave of arrests amidst a government crackdown in Turkey in the aftermath of an attempted coup, and was thrown into the vortex of a diplomatic crisis.

Here is a timeline of important dates:

1993: Brunson, then 25, and his wife Norine move to Turkey, first to Istanbul and then to the Aegean province of Izmir.

2010: The Izmir Resurrection Church is established, Brunson leads the congregation.

2016:

July 15: A faction in the Turkish military attempts a coup that leaves more than 200 people dead and 2,000 injured; a state of emergency is declared five days later. The movement of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who lives in exile in the US, is blamed for the failed coup.

October: Following a government crackdown, Brunson is detained in Izmir.

December 9: Brunson is formally arrested and charged with committing crimes on behalf of Gulen‘s organization and disclosing secret information "for political or military espionage purposes."

2017:

May 16: US President Donald Trump hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House. The Turkish leader presents "new evidence" for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen. Trump presses for Brunson‘s release.

August 24: Turkey issues a new arrest order against Brunson, who is already in detention. He is charged with attempting to overthrow parliament.

September 28: Speaking at an event in Istanbul, Erdogan offers to swap Brunson for Gulen.

2018:

April 16: The trial on espionage and terrorism-related charges starts against Brunson in Izmir; the Turkish prosecutor seeks 35 years in prison.

May 4: European parliamentarians write to Erdogan calling for Brunson‘s release.

July 18: Izmir court rules Brunson must remain in prison. Trump calls it a disgrace and says Brunson "has been held hostage far too long."

July 19: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves legislation that would impose financial penalties on Turkey until the government ends the detention of Brunson and other US citizens. Turkey‘s Foreign Ministry says Washington must stop stalling on Gulen‘s extradition.

July 25: Court orders Brunson to be moved from prison to house arrest. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Turkish move is "not enough."

July 26: Trump says the US will impose "large sanctions" on Turkey for Brunson‘s detainment. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says: "We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception."

August 1: US announces sanctions against Turkish interior and justice ministers.

August 4: Erdogan says Ankara will freeze the assets in Turkey of the US ministers of "justice and interior;" it‘s not clear who he‘s talking about.

August 10: Trump announces he has doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey to 50 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Subsequently, the Turkish lira plummets. Erdogan says Turkey will not yield to bullying and blackmail.

August 14: Brunson‘s lawyer appeals against the house arrest and travel ban - the appeal is rejected three days later.

September 26: Erdogan tells a Turkey-US investment conference in New York that Ankara and Washington will overcome a "turbulent period" in their partnership, "which has survived many hardships."

October 3: Brunson‘s lawyer files an appeal in Turkey‘s Constitutional Court, the country‘s highest court, to lift his house arrest.

October 12: A court in Izmir lifts the house arrest and travel ban against Brunson. It convicts him on terrorism-related charges and sentences him to three years, one month and 15 days in jail - but he will be freed for time already served.

 

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