Aliaga(Turkey), Apr 16 (AP) An American pastor is going on trial in Turkey accused of ties to terror groups and spying, in a case that has strained ties between Turkey and the United States.

Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member” and “espionage.” The trial begins today in Aliaga, a town in western Turkey.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016 for alleged links to both outlawed Kurdish rebels and a network led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed military coup that year.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, rejects the accusations. Washington has demanded his release. (AP) SMJ SMJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.