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

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

Meanwhile, Turkey has said the United States demands for the pastor's release are "unacceptable".

The meeting came on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers' meeting.

On Wednesday, Washington moved to block the assets of Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in the U.S. and prohibit American citizens from "engaging in transactions with them".

"The decision, which disrespectfully intervenes in our judicial system, will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries", Ankara's foreign ministry said.

Late last month, US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that his country "will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson".

"Since the beginning we have said that a solution can not be reached by using threatening language and sanctions", the minister added.

"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the government of Turkey", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emphasized to reporters Wednesday.

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

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Pompeo met on Friday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss the matter behind closed doors and said those talks had been "constructive".

So how does Turkey plan to respond?

"We have said from the start that the other side's threatening language and sanctions will not get any result".

Brunson, 50, is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges, which he and the USA government vehemently deny.

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. The evangelical pastor, who is originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, has lived in Turkey for 23 years and led the Izmir Resurrection Church.

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

The Turks have also vowed to retaliate for the sanctions "without delay".

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

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