Ankara says it agreed with US 'to work closely to resolve issues'

The meeting was the first between the countries' officials after Ankara vowed it would respond to sanctions with retaliatory measures. (Reuters)

The United States and Turkey have agreed to work closely to resolve issues between them, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, following what he said was a "constructive" meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Cavusgolu and Pompeo met on the sidelines of a meeting of regional ministers in Singapore. Their talks came after Washington imposed sanctions on two of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's ministers over the trial of a U.S. pastor accused of backing terrorism. Turkey has said the sanctions are unacceptable.

Cavusoglu, in comments to Turkish broadcasters, said he and Pompeo had also discussed potential joint steps the two countries could take regarding Syria's Idlib and Manbij. The NATO allies have also been at odds over Syria policy.

Also Turkish Foreign Minister said he told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that threats and sanctions will not work, after Washington targeted Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor.

"We have said from the start that the other side's threatening language and sanctions will not get any result. We repeated this today," Cavusoglu said in televised remarks in Singapore after their meeting.

Pastor Andrew Brunson was held in prison for nearly two years before he was moved to house arrest last week, disappointing American officials who expected his release.

He is accused of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups viewed by Ankara as terrorists: the movement of the US-led Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 coup attempt and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, denies the charges. He risks up to 35 years in prison if found guilty. His next hearing is on October 12.

The case is now at the centre of a bitter row between NATO allies Ankara and Washington after the US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on the Turkish justice and interior ministers claiming they played a major role in the arrest and detention of the pastor.

The meeting was the first between the countries' officials after Ankara vowed it would respond to sanctions with retaliatory measures.

Before the meeting, Pompeo told reporters that he hoped Turkey would see that the sanctions were "a demonstration that we're very serious".

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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