Andrew Brunson, the American pastor from North Carolina, has been held for nearly two years over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a failed coup two years ago.
Mr. Brunson has denied the charges but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.
In recent moves, Brunson has been removed from jail and placed under house arrest.
Additionally, a Turkish court rejected an appeal to release Andrew Brunson, and subsequently place him back under house arrest.
In the meanwhile, Washington has charged that the pastor, a long-time Turkish resident, is “a victim of unfair and unjust detention.”
President Trump has expressed his disgust at Turkey’s action in its continued detention of Andrew Brunson. “We are not going to take it sitting down,” warned the President.
He also called the spying charge against Brunson “phony” and denounced Turkey as a “problem for a long time.”
“Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” Trump noted in a tweet.
“We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” Trump also said on Twitter.
So far, both countries have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs as the U.S. seeks to pressure Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan into giving up Brunson, who maintains denial of the charges brought against him that he was involved in a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.
The U.S. tariffs action and further threats have put Turkey’s economy into a tailspin.
The standoff, however, was calmed somewhat as Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated on Wednesday a willingness to talk with Washington.
“Despite everything, we are ready to talk about everything to solve the existing problems as equal partners,” the minister said. “I speak openly but only on one condition – no threatening, no dictating.”
Cavusoglu also called on the U.S. to “take into account our frustrations” with American policies.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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