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

Turkey threatens to retaliate over US sanctions in escalating dispute between Nato allies

Top diplomats from Turkey and the United States agreed on Friday to work towards a solution to the diplomatic spat that has erupted over the arrest of a U.S. pastor, which has already resulted in Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara.

"We have said from the start that the other side's threatening language and sanctions will not get any result". "It's pretty straightforward. Pastor Brunson is an innocent pastor and they need to let him a return to the United States".

How did the jailing of a U.S. pastor lead to sanctions on Turkey?

The administration is also seeking the release of several detained local employees of the USA diplomatic missions in the Turkey. "We repeated this today", Cavusoglu said in televised remarks in Singapore after their meeting.

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 U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

Last week, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was not immediately released.

Cavusoglu told Turkish press that the meeting was "constructive", but also spoke out against the sanctions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by media Friday as saying that Ankara was preparing to respond to Washington in equal measures.

"They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries", Nauert said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said he told his U.S. counterpart Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that threats and sanctions would not work after Washington targeted Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor.

The evangelical pastor, who is originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, has lived in Turkey for 23 years and led the Izmir Resurrection Church.

The sanctions freeze any property or assets on U.S. soil held by the two ministers, and bar U.S. citizens from doing business with them. Americans would generally be prohibited from doing business with them.

Brunson faces up to 35 years in jail on charges of carrying out activities on behalf of two terror organisations - the group led by US-based Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 failed coup and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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