Pompeo Tells Turkey Time Has Run Out to Resolve Pastor Dispute

04 August, 2018, 18:32 | Author: Bert Pena
  • US ‘addiction to sanctions knows no bounds’ – Iranian foreign minister

His comments came two days after the US imposed sanctions on Turkey's Justice and Interior ministers over the detention of terror-linked USA pastor Andrew Brunson.

Speaking to the women's wing of his AK Party, Erdogan said he gave orders for assets in Turkey belonging to the US interior and justice ministers to be frozen "if they have any".

Pompeo discussed the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in custody in Turkey since 2016 on terror charges.

The standoff appears to be one of the most serious crises between Turkey and the United States in modern history, along with the rows over the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Brunson stands accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim Leader who Turkish authorities say masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is facing an "economic war" after the lira hit a fresh record low against the dollar amid rising tensions with Washington. He was recently moved from prison to house arrest.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed on Friday to try to resolve a series of disputes, after relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies sank to their lowest point in decades.

"Of course you can't expect all issues to be resolved in a single meeting", he said.

"The decision, which disrespectfully intervenes in our judicial system, will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries", Ankara's foreign ministry said. "But we have agreed to work together, closely cooperate and keep the dialogue in the coming period". He denies the charges but faces up to 35 years in jail.

"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the government of Turkey", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emphasized to reporters Wednesday. On Tuesday, a court rejected his appeal to be released altogether during his trial.

It is unclear who that would affect, due to differing Cabinet roles in the United States than in Turkey, or if the intended officials even have any holdings in Turkey.

Top U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, have said there is no evidence against Brunson and demanded his release. He was also charged with supporting outlawed Kurdish PKK militants.

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