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US, Turkey meet on detained American pastor, sanctions

The Trump administration last week slapped punitive sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 August, 2018

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Senior US 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.

Senior US 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 US government adamantly deny.

The administration has repeatedly demanded Brunson's release.

The row is seen by analysts as one of the most severe between Turkey and the US since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and comes on top of a host of other issues causing strain.

The tensions have pushed the already battered Turkish lira to new record lows, with the currency crashing some five percent against the dollar on Monday.

The lira has lost 15 percent against the dollar in the last month alone.

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