Turkey demands USA reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

Turkey demands USA reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

Turkey demands USA reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he hoped Americans detained in Turkey would be released "in coming days", following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Singapore which both sides said was constructive.

Pompeo told reporters on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Singapore that the two countries would continue to work with each other in the framework of the alliance and on other matters.

The sanctions targeting Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu freeze any property or assets on USA soil held by the two ministers, and bar United States citizens from doing business with them.

On Friday, the two leaders agreed to work together to resolve tensions between the two countries.

Turkey has condemned a decision by the USA to impose sanctions on two of its senior ministers in response to the detention of an American pastor who is being tried by Ankara on espionage and terror-related charges.

Turkey has said the sanctions are unacceptable.

Speaking to Turkish journalists after the meeting, Cavusoglu also described the discussion with Pompeo as "constructive", but added: "Nothing can be achieved through threatening language and sanctions".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he and Pompeo agreed to move forward with diplomatic negotiations.

The two NATO allies have been at loggerheads over Turkey's detention of a North Carolina-born Christian pastor on terror charges.

"We call on the USA administration to walk back from this wrong decision", it said in a statement on Wednesday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that Brunson was a "victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey" as she announced sanctions. Mr. Erdogan's government also alleges the Mr. Brunson has ties to a Turkish preacher now living in exile in the US whom Ankara accuses of fomenting the coup. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

The meeting was the first between the countries' officials after Ankara vowed it would respond to sanctions with retaliatory measures.

Ankara claims Brunson has ties to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who it says was behind a 2016 failed coup attempt, and the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Related news