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Pompeo Leans on Turkey to Release Pastor Brunson: 'The Clock's Run Out'

04 August 2018

The lira lost over 1.6 percent of its value against the greenback following Washington's move in response to Turkey keeping Pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest.

The former prime minister's position echoes that of the Turkish government.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the meeting, Pompeo said that United States sanctions on Turkey showed America is "very serious" about Brunson's release.

Andrew Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, is at the centre of one of the most serious crises in relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will seek global arbitration if the Trump administration fails to deliver the fighter jets.

While Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu had agreed to resolve the situation in a meeting with Pompeo, he also says that the threatening language and sanctions from the U.S. won't get them anywhere. "Our relationship will never be cut", he said.

So how does Turkey plan to respond?

He gave an nearly two hour policy speech in Ankara Friday, without once referring directly to the tensions.

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After reports that the U.S. would sanction individuals over the case, the lira hit a record low of 5.01 against the dollar, before rallying slightly to 4.9.

Erdogan's comments, in a speech in Ankara, came two days after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the trial of a USA pastor accused of backing terrorism.

He was arrested in December 2016 following a failed coup in Turkey on charges of espionage and "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" - allegations Brunson denies.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who shares Brunson's evangelical Christian faith, have made his release a priority. His next hearing is set for October 12.

Investors are dumping Turkey's national currency, the lira, after Washington imposed sanctions relating to the trial of an American pastor accused of backing terrorism.

After Ankara launched an offensive in January supporting Syrian rebels against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in its western enclave of Afrin in Syria, the USA called for restraint.

Turkey's president said Saturday the country will freeze the assets of two United States officials in retaliation for sanctions against Turkey's justice and interior ministers over the detention of an American pastor, while attempting a conciliatory tone.

Pompeo Leans on Turkey to Release Pastor Brunson: 'The Clock's Run Out'