A Turkish court in Izmir ruled that U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson’s statements of not having links to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen's movement, referred to by Ankara as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), are groundless, the Anadolu news agency reported citing the ruling.
"The defendant claimed that he didn't contact with representatives of Gulen's movement and other criminal organizations as it contradicts his religious views… But in reality, as confirmed by witnesses, Brunson was in contact not only with FETO’s ‘Imam’ in the Aegean region Bekir Baz, but also with his assistant Murat Safa, who had a direct access to the leader of the terrorist movement," the ruling reads.
According to the ruling, Brunson also provided support to FETO, while Gulen’s supporters, including Baz, helped the pastor solve his problems, Sputnik reported.
The court stressed that Brunson, heading only a small religious community, visited some areas of Turkey with a high terrorist threat, and established direct contacts with local leaders, which indicated that the pastor had influential accomplices. The ruling goes on to say that Brunson could get support like this only from FETO representatives.