United States, Turkey to Resolve Diplomatic Row over Jailed Pastor

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The United States and Turkey have agreed to sheath swords and solve their diplomatic row over a series of disputes including the jailing of an evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson.

United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusogl both agreed on Friday to try to resolve a series of disputes between both countries after relations between the NATO allies sank to their lowest point in decades.

This decision was revealed after a meeting between both government officials in Singapore after the United State Treasury department announced sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the case of Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor on trial in Turkey for backing terrorism.

Read: United States Sanctions Turkey Officials over Pastor’s Detention

State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert described their conversation on the sidelines of a regional ministers meeting as constructive. “They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries,” she affirmed.

Turkish foreign minister, Cavusoglu said he had repeated Turkey’s message that the threatening language and sanctions does not achieve anything, but he and Pompeo would take steps to resolve their differences when they returned home.

Of course you can’t expect all issues to be resolved in a single meeting. But we have agreed to work together, closely cooperate and keep the dialogue in the coming period,” the minister said while he also described the talks as very constructive.

The United States imposed sanctions on Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, accusing them of playing leading roles in organisations responsible for the arrest and detention of Brunson, an evangelical Christian, who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades; the sanctions sent the Turkish lira to record low.

Although Turkey had vowed to retaliate within hours of the imposition of sanctions its tone has been moderated and so far it has taken no such step.

Turkey’s finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who also happens to be President Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, expressed his optimism that relations with the U.S. would never break down, in spite the temporary escalation.

United States vice president Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. had put Turkey on notice, that the clock had run and it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned.

I hope they’ll see this for what it is; a demonstration that we’re very serious. We consider this one of the many issues that we have with the Turks. Brunson needs to come home. As do all the Americans being held by the Turkish government.” The vice president said.

“They’ve been holding these folks for a long time. These are innocent people. We are going to work to see if we can find a way forward; I am hopeful that we can.” He said further.

The United States have also been seeking the release of three locally employed embassy staff detained in Turkey.

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