Trump calls for release of jailed pastor in Turkey

Trump calls for release of jailed pastor in Turkey
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE on Tuesday called on Turkey to release an American pastor being held prisoner there, arguing that “I am more a Spy than he is.”

“Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason,” Trump tweeted.

“They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!” he added.

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Brunson has been working in Turkey for 23 years as the pastor of the Resurrection Church.

On Monday, a Turkish court rejected Brunson's appeal to be released and ordered he remain jailed for another month. He was detained 18 months ago for an alleged connection to a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016, The New York Times reported.

He is accused of aiding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which opposes Erdoğan and the ruling party, and of having a connection to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who Turkey claims orchestrated the coup attempt. 

He has denied the allegations. 

Trump, Vice President Pence and other U.S. officials have lobbied Turkish officials to release Brunson, arguing he has been wrongfully imprisoned, the Times reported.