Bolton Met Turkish Envoy to Discuss U.S. Pastor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) —
turkey pastor
American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, escorted by Turkish police officers, arrives at his home in Izmir, last month. Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest. (AFP/Getty Images)

White House national security adviser John Bolton met on Monday with Turkey’s ambassador to the United States to discuss Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, the White House said.

“At the Turkish ambassador’s request, Ambassador John Bolton met with Ambassador Serdar Kilic of Turkey (on Monday) in the White House. They discussed Turkey’s continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Despite news reports that the United States had set a deadline for Turkey to hand over Brunson, U.S. officials said no deadline had been set.

There has been no sign that the United States was prepared to negotiate with Turkey over Brunson, with Trump seemingly content for now to let his economic pressures continue to weigh on Turkey’s economy.

The United States earlier this month imposed sanctions on two top officials in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cabinet in a new attempt to get NATO ally Turkey to turn over Brunson, who is accused of backing a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.

Last week, Trump tweeted that “our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” and said that he had authorized a doubling of tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey.

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