U.S. will not make concessions to Turkey over detained pastor, Trump says

Galtero Lara
Agosto 21, 2018

President Donald Trump's administration has rejected Turkey's offer to condition the release of an American pastor on clearing a top Turkish bank of billions of dollars in US fines, media reported Monday. In exchange, Turkey would release Brunson and other Americans being held in Turkey, the senior official claimed.

On Monday, Mr Trump demanded Mr Erdogan release Mr Brunson in exchange for the Turkish prisoner freed by Israel.

The currency hit a low after US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Turkish metal imports, falling to just over seven liras to the dollar but later recovered slightly to six liras to the dollar.

Brunson, 50, was indicted by a Turkish court on charges of having links with the Kurdish militants and the movement of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded an abortive coup in 2016.

Trump said he kept his side of the bargain.

"I like Turkey. I like the people of Turkey very much", Trump said. I had a very good relationship. "I expect him to let this very innocent and wonderful man and great father and great Christian out of Turkey". I had a very good relationship.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed his country will not be brought to heel amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis with the United States.

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In the Reuters interview, he ticked off areas that he discussed privately with Putin, including security for Israel, Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany that will supply natural gas to Germany.

"I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us".

Turning to Iran, Trump showed little interest in meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the dispute over Iran's nuclear program after earlier this month expressing a willingness to do so. Trump said it did not matter to him whether he met Iran's leaders and that there had been no United States outreach toward Iran to discuss talks.

Turkish government officials did not comment on Trump's remarks as they spoke after prayers to mark the start of the Islamic festival.

"If they want to meet that's fine, and if they don't want to meet, I couldn't care less", he said.

He also said he had "no time frame" for resolving his administration's trade dispute with China.

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