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Turkish, US Officials Discuss Bilateral Ties, Pastor Brunson

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met with Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Washington on Wednesday to discuss a wide array of issues, including the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

“The two discussed a range of bilateral matters including Pastor Brunson,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

A nine-member delegation led by Deputy Turkish Foreign Minister Onal came to the U.S. capital in a bid to defuse the simmering tension between two NATO allies.

The delegation includes officials from Turkey’s justice, interior and foreign ministries.

Pastor Brunson’s case remains a torn in relations between two NATO allies. After the U.S. hit two Turkish ministers with sanctions, the Turkish lira plunged into record lows. Ankara retaliated in kind and imposed sanctions on the U.S. justice and interior secretaries.

The deterioration of the dispute has taken a heavy toll on the Turkish economy, with international investors seeing a further trouble ahead.

The lira fell to 5.30 against the U.S. dollar on Monday, losing one third of its value against the dollar in the past six months. Though it later recovered a little bit, it weakened again on Wednesday, standing around 5.22 against the dollar amid the talks in Washington.

The diplomatic showdown with the U.S. and the power struggle between the Turkish government and its Central Bank to shape the monetary policy eroded the confidence of international investors and observers.

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