Turkey demands USA reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

Howard TerryAug 04, 2018

The row over Mr Brunson escalated last week when US Vice President Mike Pence, like the pastor an evangelical Christian, said Turkey would face "significant sanctions" if this "innocent man of faith" was not freed. He risks up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

The Turkish foreign ministry called on the U.S. to reverse its "wrong decision" on Thursday after Washington announced sanctions on Abdulhamit Gul, the minister of justice, and Suleyman Soylu, the minister of interior.

The sell-off, which also hammered local stocks and Turkey's debt risk profile, reflected deepening investor concern over tensions with the United States, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and major trading partner.

"Brunson needs to come home".

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".

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

Speaking to Turkish journalists after his meeting with Pompeo, Cavusoglu also described their discussion as "extremely constructive" and said the two would continue to work toward resolving disputes. "They argue then make up", Albayrak said, adding: "Relations will never break off".

Some analysts have argued Turkey is wary of allowing any further escalation in the crisis, which has already sent the lira to record lows in value against the dollar of above 5 for the first time.

The US treasury announced measures last night against Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, and Abdulhamit Gul, the justice minister, in response to the treatment of Andrew Brunson, an American.

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. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

The 50-year-old pastor was arrested in December 2016 and later charged with links to a failed plot to overthrow the Turkish government.

He is accused of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups viewed by Ankara as terrorists: the movement of the US-led Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 coup attempt and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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 U.S. called for restraint.

Erdogan saYS China, Mexico, Russia and India will be new markets for Turkey's exports.

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