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US, Turkey agree to try to resolve disputes after relations take a nosedive

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Friday agreed to try to resolve a series of disputes amid a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Washington over a US decision to impose sanctions on two Turkish ministers, Reuters reported.

The United States on Wednesday sanctioned Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu over the imprisonment of pastor Andrew Brunson.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described the conversation between Pompeo and Çavuşoğlu on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in Singapore as constructive. “They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries,” she said.

“There might be problems between our countries, and there can also be discord. However, Turkey always wants to resolve these issues by means of diplomacy, dialogue and mutual understanding,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the meeting.

“Of course, we can’t expect to solve all these issues in one meeting,” he added.

The US decision to impose sanctions came days after Turkey refused to free American Pastor Brunson, who was last week moved by a Turkish court from pretrial detention, in which he has been held since October 2016, to house arrest in İzmir but barred him from leaving the premises or the country.

Following the court ruling US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on Turkey if Brunson were not freed.

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