Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Pompeo Renews Calls for the Return of American Pastor Imprisoned in Turkey

US imposes sanctions on Turkey as Lira drops and Turkey threatens retaliation Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to supporters in Istanbul
Andrew Cummings | 04 August, 2018, 14:43

He gave an nearly two hour policy speech in Ankara Friday, without once referring directly to the tensions.

Pastor Andrew Brunson was held in prison for almost two years before he was moved to house arrest last week, disappointing American officials who expected his release.

Davutoğlu said the USA decision is a risky move and "incompatible with the most simple diplomatic courtesy and mutual respect". He risks up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

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

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

"Brunson needs to come home, as do all the Americans being held by the Turkish government", Pompeo told reporters ahead of the summit.

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

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will seek global arbitration if the Trump administration fails to deliver the fighter jets. "Our relationship will never be cut", he said.

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But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearisation. Trump asserted last week that his administration's plan to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons is "going very well".

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North Korea got respect, trade, and weapons, and now they appear to be going on as if Singapore put no restrictions on them. Experts say the North likely wants a declaration of the end of the Korean War as part of US security assurances.

"They've been holding these folks for a long time".

The Turkish lira, which has been in decline against the dollar for most of 2018, fell to a record low of five to the dollar on Wednesday, after dropping 1.7 per cent following the sanctions announcement.

Meanwhile, Pompeo noted that Brunson's detainment was just one of many issues the USA has with Turkey - for instance, Turkey's ongoing detention of three Turkish employees of the United States consulate in Istanbul. His next hearing is on October 12.

The FETO and its USA -based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and almost 2,200 injured.

Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who has lived in Turkey for the last 23 years, has been in Turkish custody on terrorism and espionage charges since being arrested shortly after a failed coup attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government.

After Ankara launched an offensive in January supporting Syrian rebels against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in its western enclave of Afrin in Syria, the United States called for restraint.

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.

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