Decision to come soon on Turkey sanctions: Pompeo

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he expects a decision on Turkey sanctions soon, adding some were in response to newly freed American pastor Andrew Brunson.

“We'll have a decision on that shortly," Pompeo told reporters in regards to sanctions.

"There's a logic to now moving those as well, but no final decision has been made and I need to talk to the president about that," Pompeo added.

Pompeo comments came as he returned to the U.S. after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, days after Brunson’s release.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016 and charged in the Aegean province of Izmir with being a member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a defeated coup earlier that year.

After being transferred this July from jail to house arrest, on Friday Brunson was sentenced to just over three years in prison, but released due to time served and his good behavior in custody.

The charges against him included spying for both FETO and the PKK, a group recognized as terrorist by the U.S. and EU, and which is responsible for some 40,000 deaths in Turkey, including women and children.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Turkey — namely Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul — for not releasing Brunson, a move that sparked bilateral tensions and spooked markets.

Trump then ramped up his attack on Turkey by raising steel and aluminum tariffs to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.