When Andrew Brunson saw a police summons on his door in late summer 2016, the U.S. evangelical pastor thought it was a routine appointment to sort out his residency papers in Turkey. He had lived there for nearly a quarter of a century.
He went to the police station on Oct. 7, 2016 and was detained. Reuters reports he was later charged with involvement in a coup attempt. He is still in detention and is now at the center of a diplomatic row that has fueled Turkey’s most serious currency crisis for almost two decades.
Brunson’s lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, told Reuters in an interview on Friday, “Obviously he was more than surprised” to be detained.
Brunson lived and preached in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast near some of the sites of Christianity’s first communities. At his first hearing in April, attended by Reuters, Brunson said he was “raising disciples for Jesus” in a country he deeply loved.