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

Gladys Abbott
August 4, 2018

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

US President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence had threatened Turkey with "large sanctions" last week if Brunson was not immediately released.

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

Pompeo said the administration's actions on Wednesday - imposing sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers - were a sign of how seriously the U.S.is treating Brunson's case.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore following Washington's move to sanction Turkey's two ministers over the detention of a US pastor.


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

"The Turks were on notice that.it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned", Pompeo told reporters in Singapore. "Pretty straightforward. They've been holding these folks for a long time".

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"We are going to work to see if we can find a way forward; I am hopeful that we can", he said. "These are innocent people".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the USA demands, saying his government won't back down and is willing to "go its own way" if the US acted.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that Brunson was a "victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey" as she announced sanctions.

On Wednesday, Washington moved to block the assets of Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in the USA and prohibit American citizens from "engaging in transactions with them".

Pastor Brunson was arrested in Izmir, Turkey in October 2016, and was accused without any evidence of helping terrorist groups and of engaging in espionage.

He was recently released from prison and put under house arrest but still faces a sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted at his ongoing trial.

The Turkish leader previously connected Brunson's return to the U.S.to the extradition of Fethullah Gulen.

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