WASHINGTON (August 8, 2018) — Senior U.S. and Turkish officials have held talks in Washington aimed at ending a sharp rift between the NATO allies over the detention of an American pastor.
The State Department said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met Wednesday in a bid to ease the crisis in relations caused by Turkey's continued detention of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson's detention led the Trump administration last week to slap punitive sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers and warn of additional measures if the case is not soon resolved.
Brunson, who is from North Carolina, is on trial on espionage and terror-related charges related to a failed 2016 coup attempt, which he and the U.S. government adamantly deny. The administration has repeatedly demanded Brunson's release.
Brunson has been pastoring in Turkey for more than 20-years.