Pompeo presses Turkey for Brunson’s release
by Les Sillars
Posted 8/03/18, 11:59 am
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday for the release of detained American pastor Andrew Brunson. The two met on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian security conference in Singapore, two days after the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the case.
Ahead of the meeting, Pompeo said Brunson was high on his list of items to discuss. “I hope they’ll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we’re very serious,” he told reporters aboard his flight to Singapore. He added that Brunson’s case is one of several issues, but did not elaborate. Washington and Ankara have been at odds over Turkey’s detention of three Turkish employees of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, military activity in northern Syria, and Turkey’s plans to purchase an advanced air defense system from Russia. “Brunson needs to come home as do all the Americans being held by the Turkish government,” Pompeo said. “Pretty straightforward … these are innocent people.” After their meeting, Cavusoglu described the discussion with Pompeo as “extremely constructive.”
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