Lawyer takes US pastor's case to Turkey's highest court

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A lawyer for the United States pastor whose two-year detention in Turkey led to a bitter row with Washington said on Wednesday he had appealed to the constitutional court for the American's release.

On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was determined to fight, within legal and diplomatic frameworks, "this crooked understanding, which imposes sanctions using the excuse of a pastor who is tried due to his dark links with terror organizations".

He was detained in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup for allegedly supporting outlawed Kurdish rebels and the network led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. He has denied the charges and Washington has demanded his immediate release.

The case has strained ties between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the US.

Speaking at the opening of the parliament in Ankara, Erdogan said that Turkey would act against the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is designated by Turkey, the United States and European Union as a terrorist organization.

Brunson's case has become the most divisive issue between the two countries.

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Before returning home, Erdogan travelled to the western city of Cologne where several thousand critics turned out to protest against Turkey's record on human rights, press freedom and its treatment of minority Kurds.

"I believe our meetings for two days have cemented a long-established Turkish-German friendship", he said of the visit that aimed to mend ties with Berlin after two years of tension.

Erdogan has announced that the withdrawal of radical groups had already started.

"We are leaving painful terms in the recent past with Germany behind", Erdogan said.

In remarks published on Monday, Mr. Erdogan has strongly criticized the statements of his German counterpart, saying that they are "not very appropriate" and that Turkey would not treat a host of the sort.

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