Turkey: US missionary Andrew Brunson charged with attempting to overthrow government

A US missionary detained in Turkey has been charged with attempting to overthrow the government after being arrested last October.

Andrew Brunson is accused of acquiring confidential political and military information and for attempting to destroy the constitutional order, according to local news site Hurriyet Daily.

Pastor Andrew Brunson with his wife Norine.(Facebook/Andrew & Norine Brunson)

A missionary and pastor, Brunson was arrested as part of a crackdown after Turkey's attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed last July.

He is suspected of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric blamed for the coup.

Brunson denies all charges and said he was defending Jesus according to Turkish law.

'I don't support any Islamic movement. I have never seen any member of FETÖ (a derogatory term invented by government to refer Gülen movement) in my life,' he said.

Until their arrest, Andrew and Norine Brunson led the Izmir Resurrection Church, which has up to 40 regular members. They have lived in Turkey for 23 years.

His wife was released shortly after but Andrew has remained in custody with prosecutors alleging he had links with Gülen.

Both US President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have lobbied the Turkish government for Brunson's release with Trump saying he bought it up specifically when Erdogan visited the White House in May.

'President Trump raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish government expeditiously return him to the United States,' a White House press release said at the time.