January 19, 2019

Turkey demands USA reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

04 August 2018, 09:36 | Austin Hogan

Turkey has repeatedly said Brunson's case is being handled by the courts and the government cannot intervene

Turkey has repeatedly said Brunson's case is being handled by the courts and the government cannot intervene

"However, Turkey always wishes to resolve these issues via diplomacy, dialogue and mutual understanding", Cavusoglu told reporters after meeting his USA counterpart Mike Pompeo in Singapore.

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, announced Wednesday, allow the us government to target individuals and companies involved in corruption or human-rights abuses, which in this case include Turkey's justice and interior ministers.

Following the meeting, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that Pompeo "had a constructive conversation" with Cavusoglu and they " agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries".

Washington earlier this week imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the case of Andrew Brunson, a USA pastor on trial in Turkey for backing terrorism.

"We have said since the beginning that threatening language and sanctions will not get any result", he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrives for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting opening ceremony in Singapore August 2, 2018.

"I am hopeful that in the coming days we will see that occur", Pompeo said.

Cavusoglu called his meeting with Pompeo "constructive".

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So how does Turkey plan to respond?

On the sanctions, he said: "I hope they'll see this for what it is, a demonstration that we're very serious". He was arrested in December 2016 following a failed coup on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and espionage.

Mr. Brunson had denied all charges and his case has become a cause celebre for US evangelicals and the Trump administration.

Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, denies the charges.

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

Brunson, who was put under house arrest last month, faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if convicted.

But Brunson's case has resonated with U.S. President Donald Trump and more particularly with Vice President Mike Pence.

The Turks have also vowed to retaliate for the sanctions "without delay". Ankara blames Gulen for the coup attempt, while the cleric denies involvement.

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