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Talks with US over Halkbank on positive path, Erdoğan says

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Talks with the United States on Turkey’s state-owned lender Halkbank are on a positive path, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday, adding that he had discussed the issue with US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.

Erdoğan made the comment to reporters following a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.

A US court in May sentenced a Halkbank executive to 32 months in prison for helping Tehran evade US sanctions. Halkbank faces potential US fines in relation to that case.

“We had a positive meeting with our US counterpart [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin]. He said he would follow the process closely,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told broadcaster A Haber on Monday.

“We told them that Halkbank had not violated sanctions. … We have positive expectations,” he said.

There were reports in the Turkish media suggesting that Erdoğan had requested that no fine be imposed on Halkbank in return releasing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been in pretrial detention in Turkey for almost two years on terrorism charges.

Brunson was convicted by a Turkish court on Oct 12 but was freed due to time already served.

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