Pompeo Leans on Turkey to Release Pastor Brunson: 'The Clock's Run Out'
04 August, 2018, 09:33 | Author: Brooke Harris
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.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration took the rare, if not unprecedented, step of hitting two senior Turkish officials with sanctions over the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who remains in detention despite repeated demands from President Donald Trump for his release.
The Turkish lira on Wednesday slumped to record lows of 5.0 against the dollar as the USA hit Turkey's justice and interior ministers with sanctions over the case of an American pastor on trial for terror-related charges.
"We have said since the beginning that threatening language and sanctions will not get any result", he said.
"I am hopeful that in the coming days we will see that occur", Pompeo said.
"The Turks were on notice that the clock had run and it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned and I hope they'll see this for what it is, a demonstration that we're very serious", Pompeo said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by media Friday as saying that Ankara was preparing to respond to Washington in equal measures.
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Fifty-year-old Brunson faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups, which Turkey considers to be terror organizations.
The evangelical preacher, who had led a small congregation in the western Turkish city of Izmir for more than 20 years, was detained in October 2016. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".
The former prime minister's position echoes that of the Turkish government.
The senior U.S. general in Europe, Curtis Scaparrotti, was on Thursday holding talks with Turkish military officials in Ankara but there was no indication the Brunson case would be raised.
He was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a USA -based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt in which 250 people were killed. Ankara blames Gulen for the coup attempt, while the cleric denies involvement.
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