Turkish FM Tells Pompeo Sanctions Against Turkey Would Not Work
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo that the U.S. sanctions against two Turkish ministers would not work.
After the U.S. Treasury Department hit Turkey’s justice and interior ministers with sanctions over their role in the detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, the simmering diplomatic dispute shows no signs of abating.
On Thursday, Cavusoglu met with Pompeo in Singapore on the sidelines of ASEAN summit.
“They spoke about a number of issues, and had a constructive conversation. They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement about the meeting.
Despite the positive impression conveyed by the sources after the meeting, points of contention and disagreement seem to remain in place.
“We have said from the start that the other side’s threatening language and sanctions will not get any result,” the Turkish foreign minister told journalists. “We have repeated this today.”
The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul, blocked their assets within the U.S. jurisdiction. It also banned the U.S. citizens and firms from engaging financial transactions with the two ministers.
The U.S. Secretary of State spoke in defense of the sanctions.
“The Turks were on notice that the clock had run out and it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned and I hope they’ll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we’re very serious,” he said before his departure for Singapore from Malaysia.
Pastor Brunson, who had remained in prison for 21 months over charges of espionage and terrorism, was moved to house arrest last week. But the new development was nowhere close to satisfy the U.S. demands for his release.
The sanctions galvanized Turkey’s public, with political parties coalescing around President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s administration in a display of national solidarity and union against what they say foreign interference in Turkey’s sovereignty and “judicial independence.”
Four political parties represented in Turkish Parliament issued a joint declaration, condemning the sanctions. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu slammed the U.S. for targeting Turkey’s Justice Minister and claimed that Turkey’s judiciary is independent.
Nationalist IYI (Good) Party Spokesman Aytun Ciray even proposed confiscation of Trump Towers in Istanbul.