U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pressed Turkey for the release of a detained American pastor whose case has led the Trump administration to hit senior Turkish officials with sanctions and badly strained ties between the NATO allies.
Pompeo also said he would be seeking the release of several local employees of the U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey.
Just two days after the administrations slapped sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the case of Andrew Craig Brunson, Pompeo met with Turkish Forreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian security conference in Singapore.
Ahead of the meeting, Pompeo said Brunson’s case would be high on his list of items to discuss with his Turkish counterpart. He defended Wednesday’s sanctions as a sign of how seriously the administration takes Brunson’s case.
“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 said “We consider this one of the many issues that we have with the Turks,”