US cannot see who its true friend is, Turkish FM says as Trump tweets fresh threats

US cannot see who its true friend is, Turkish FM says as Trump tweets fresh threats

ANKARA

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has reiterated his criticism of the United States' current political stance against Turkey, as American officials continued to threaten Ankara over the arrest of pastor Andrew Brunson.

"The U.S. does not know, it cannot see who its true friend is. We can easily solve problems with the U.S. but not with its current mindset," Çavuşoğlu told reporters during his closing speech at the 10th Ambassadors' Conference in the capital Ankara on Aug. 16.

Çavuşoğlu's remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump said Turkey "has not proven to be a good friend" during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

"Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" Trump also tweeted early Aug. 17.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, said the U.S. is ready to slap Turkey with more sanctions if Brunson is not released.

“We put sanctions on several of the Cabinet members,” Mnuchin said Aug. 16 during the U.S. Cabinet meeting. “We have more that we’re planning to do if they don’t release him quickly.”

On Aug. 1 relations between Ankara and Washington nosedived when the U.S. imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers after Turkey refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

Last week, Trump ramped up his attack on Ankara by doubling tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

In response, Turkey raised tariffs on several U.S.-made goods, including alcohol and tobacco products and vehicles.

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