US actions regarding pastor Brunson disrespectful to Turkey: Erdogan

04 August, 2018, 18:28 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Turkey to sanction two US justice interior secretaries in retaliation

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he expected a joint roadmap with the United States regarding the northern Syrian city of Manbij not to be impacted by tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Brunson was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the USA -based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan in which 250 people were killed.

The lira hit an all-time low of 5.11 versus the dollar on Friday after the U.S. sanctioned two of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ministers who played a key role in detaining American pastor Andrew Brunson.

"Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Twitter, saying, "(T) he effort by the U.S. to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the meeting, Pompeo said that USA sanctions on Turkey showed America is "very serious" about Brunson's release. He is facing a 35-year sentence if convicted of the charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and espionage.

"Of course you can't expect all issues to be resolved in a single meeting", he told Turkish television channels. "They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries", she said. "But we have agreed to work together, closely cooperate and keep the dialogue in the coming period".

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"I hope they'll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we're very serious", he said.

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.

"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. On Tuesday, a court rejected his appeal to be released during his trial. He was also charged with supporting outlawed Kurdish PKK militants. "It's pretty straightforward. Pastor Brunson is an innocent pastor and they need to let him return to the United States".

"I am instructing my friends today, we will freeze assets, if there are any, of the United States justice and interior secretaries in Turkey", Erdogan, speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party meeting in Ankara, was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency. Gulen denies the allegations.

Top U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, have said there is no evidence against Brunson and demanded his release.

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