SINGAPORE: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu today said he told US Secretary of State that threats and sanctions will not work, after Washington targeted Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor.
“We have said from the start that the other side‘s threatening language and sanctions will not get any result. We repeated this today,” Cavusoglu said in televised remarks in Singapore after their meeting.
Pastor Andrew Brunson was held in prison for nearly two years before he was moved to house arrest last week, disappointing American officials who expected his release.
He is accused of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups viewed by as terrorists: the movement of the US-led Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 coup attempt and the (PKK).
Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, denies the charges.
He risks up to 35 years in prison if found guilty. His next hearing is on October 12.
The case is now at the centre of a bitter row between allies Ankara and Washington after the US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on the Turkish justice and interior ministers claiming they played a major role in the arrest and detention of the pastor.
The meeting was the first between the countries‘ officials after Ankara vowed it would respond to sanctions with retaliatory measures.
Before the meeting, Pompeo told reporters that he hoped would see that the sanctions were “a demonstration that we‘re very serious”.
Cavusoglu told Turkish media that he discussed how Turkey and the US could move forward to “solve our issues” through close cooperation, dialogue and taking steps together.
He added it was an “extremely constructive” meeting but warned that all the issues would not be solved “after one meeting”.
“When we return to our countries we will continue to take steps together and work together for these issues to be solved,” he added.
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