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

Andrew Cummings
August 4, 2018

Andrew Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, was placed under house arrest last week following almost two years in jail on charges of espionage and supporting terror groups.

The US treasury announced measures last night against Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, and Abdulhamit Gul, the justice minister, in response to the treatment of Andrew Brunson, an American.

"The Turks were on notice that the clock had run out and it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned and I hope they'll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we're very serious", he told reporters aboard his plane as he flew to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their talks came after Washington imposed sanctions on two of Turkey's ministers over the trial of a United States pastor Andrew Craig Brunson accused of backing terrorism.

A leading Turkish opposition party wants to make it personal in the increasingly nasty clash between Ankara and Washington, saying Turkey should retaliate for economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration by seizing the Trump Towers complex that are one of the most prominent features of the Istanbul skyline.

Pompeo made the remarks before attending separate meetings with top Turkish and North Korean officials on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian security conference in Singapore. "Pretty straightforward. They've been holding these folks for a long time". Speculative actions in financial markets following the announcement of the sanctions would be rendered void, he said.

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

"We are going to work to see if we can find a way forward", he emphasized.

He was recently released from prison and put under house arrest but still faces a sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted at his ongoing trial.

Under the sanctions to be imposed by the Treasury Department, any property, or interest in property, belonging to Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul or Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu within US jurisdiction would be blocked. Brunson denies the accusations.

Mr Erdogan has previously tried to swap him for Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric...

Other reports by iNewsToday