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US, Turkey discuss detained US pastor after Trump threat

July 28, 2018
In this July 25, 2018 photo, Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. An American pastor who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that if Turkey does not take immediate action to free Brunson, “the United States of America will impose severe economic sanctions on Turkey,” in comments at the close of a three-day conference on religious freedom. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken to his Turkish counterpart about an American pastor detained on terrorism and espionage charges.

It could be a possible indication the NATO allies are trying to ease tensions that flared this week after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would impose sanctions in retaliation. Turkey has called that a “cheap threat.”

The State Department says Pompeo spoke Saturday with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (MEHV’-loot chah-voo-SHOH’-loo) and they “committed to continued discussions to resolve the matter and address other issues of common concern.”

Andrew Craig Brunson was detained in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup against Turkey’s government. He denies the charges.

Brunson was let out of jail Wednesday after 1 1/2 years and transferred to house arrest. Trump says that’s not enough.

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