Economy

Pompeo: Despite tensions, Turkey remains a key United States ally

Pompeo: Despite tensions, Turkey remains a key United States ally

Speaking on Friday ahead of the meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that USA sanctions on Turkey showed America is "very serious" about Brunson's release.

Turkey has vowed to retaliate after the United States imposed sanctions on two senior ministers in President Erdogan's cabinet in an escalating row over the detention of a preacher.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo and Cavusoglu "had a constructive conversation" and "agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries".

The case is now at the centre of a bitter row between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Ankara and Washington after the U.S. 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.

Top diplomats from Turkey and the United States agreed on Friday to work towards a solution to the diplomatic spat that has erupted over the arrest of a USA pastor, which has already resulted in Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara.

The NATO allies are also at odds over the Syrian war, Turkey's plan to buy missile defences from Russian Federation and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on Iran sanctions-busting charges this year.

Cavusgolu and Pompeo met on the sidelines of a meeting of regional ministers in Singapore.

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

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Brunson, 50, was arrested in 2016 on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and espionage.

The Foreign Ministry strongly protested against the U.S. Treasury Department's decision, calling on the U.S. administration to reverse its "wrong decision".

"I am hopeful that in the coming days we will see that occur", Pompeo said.

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

But Brunson's case has resonated with U.S. President Donald Trump and more particularly with Vice President Mike Pence.

The senior USA general in Europe, Curtis Scaparrotti, was on Thursday holding talks with Turkish military officials in Ankara but there was no indication the Brunson case would be raised.

The Turkish leader has previously connected Brunson's return to the U.S.to the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania. Gulen denies the allegations.