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

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday that he expects the roadmap in Syria's Manbij to continue with the USA, without being affected by the recent tensions. Mr. Erdogan's government also alleges the Mr. Brunson has ties to a Turkish preacher now living in exile in the USA whom Ankara accuses of fomenting the coup.

The US has imposed sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers over the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

"We repeated this today", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after he and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Singapore.

Erdogan called the sanctions a "serious disrespect towards Turkey" and accused the US of hypocrisy for demanding the release of evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson while ally Turkey tries him over alleged links to terror groups.

Brunson, whose trial began in the spring, faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.

"Of course you can't expect all issues to be resolved in a single meeting", he told Turkish television channels.

Brunson was in a Turkish prison for 21 months until he was transferred to house arrest last week.

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"The decision, which disrespectfully intervenes in our judicial system, will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries", Ankara's foreign ministry said.

"I am hopeful that in the coming days that we will see that occur".

"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong", Sanders said, calling his detention "unfair and unjust".

The Turkish lira, which has been in decline against the dollar for most of 2018, fell to a record low of five to the dollar on Wednesday, after dropping 1.7 percent following the sanctions announcement. Gulen denies the allegations. "It's pretty straightforward. Pastor Brunson is an innocent pastor and they need to let him return to the United States".

Washington and Ankara are also at odds over the Syrian war, Turkey's plan to buy missile defences from Russian Federation and the USA conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on Iran sanctions-busting charges this year. Pence, who has close ties to the evangelical Christian community, has been following proceedings since Brunson was arrested and pressing behind the scenes for action, aides said.

The American pastor was also charged with supporting outlawed Kurdish PKK fighters.

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