Pompeo Tells Turkey Time Has Run Out to Resolve Pastor Dispute

Hannah Rogers
August 4, 2018

Erdogan on Friday said in his Ankara speech that Turkey expected joint efforts regarding Manbij "to continue without being affected by other issues", in a possible indirect reference to the dispute with Washington.

Those conflicts include the arrests of USA citizens as well as local consular staff, US senators pushing to block the delivery of American F-35 jets following Turkey's pledge to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, and Turkey's demand that Fethullah Gulen, a US -based cleric blamed for a failed coup attempt, be extradited to stand trial.

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "should seize the Trump Towers", Aytun Ciray, general secretary of the Iyi (Good) Party, said to protest the White House announcement of sanctions on Turkey's interior and justice ministers.

While Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu had agreed to resolve the situation in a meeting with Pompeo, he also says that the threatening language and sanctions from the USA won't get them anywhere.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the meeting, Pompeo said that U.S. sanctions on Turkey showed America is "very serious" about Brunson's release.

Brunson, whose trial began in the spring, faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.

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Brunson was in a Turkish prison for 21 months until he was transferred to house arrest last week. "But we have agreed to work together, closely cooperate and keep the dialogue in the coming period", he added, also describing the talks as very constructive. "Our relationship will never be cut", he said.

"Brunson needs to come home, as do all the Americans being held by the Turkish government".

"The Turks were on notice that.it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned", Pompeo told reporters in Singapore. "They've been holding these folks for a long time".

"I hope they'll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we're very serious", he said. "These are innocent people". "We call on the USA administration to walk back from this wrong decision", it said in a statement on Wednesday. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

The NATO allies are also at odds over the Syrian war, Turkey's plan to buy missile defences from Russian Federation and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on Iran sanctions-busting charges this year.

After reports that the U.S. would sanction individuals over the case, the lira hit a record low of 5.01 against the dollar, before rallying slightly to 4.9.

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