Turkey expects US to lift sanctions: Presidential spokesperson
Turkey expects the United States to lift sanctions, which it imposed on Ankara, after the release of U.S. evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Oct. 23.
“Our expectation is that they [sanctions] are lifted in the shortest time period. This will be a positive step in the process of bilateral relations becoming normalized,” Kalın said at a news conference in the capital Ankara.
“Another issue, as you know, is the telephone conversation Mr. President had with Mr. Trump. The shared determination regarding the renormalization of the Turkey-U.S. relations following the release of pastor Brunson was expressed there,” Kalın said, referring to the telephone conversation between Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 21.
“Mr. President had already repeatedly told American officials that they should trust the Turkish justice. And, in this respect, the case was closed with the independent ruling given by the Turkish justice,” he said.
“Of course, there are still issues, which constitute problems, on our agenda in our bilateral relations with the U.S., and undoubtedly, we will closely follow these issues. The fight against FETÖ, as you know, is the most important among them. The ringleader of this terrorist organization resides in the U.S. We also know that he continues to orchestrate many operations from there. Therefore, the issue of the fight against FETÖ was also raised during last night’s phone call,” Kalın said, adding that Turkey expects the U.S. to take “concrete steps” regarding FETÖ, which “is a national security matter for the country.”
Ties between Ankara and Washington have been strained over a host of issues, including Brunson’s arrest, which led to the United States to impose sanctions and tariffs on Ankara.
Brunson was released on Oct. 12 after being held in prison and house arrest for almost two years while being tried on terrorism charges, including having links with FETÖ, which Ankara blames for the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.