U.S., Turkish Officials Meet to Discuss Sanctions and American Pastor Andrew Brunson

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. Brunson, who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. The White House is announcing that the Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. Brunson, who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. The White House is announcing that the Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

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 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.

SOURCE: AP