Pompeo urges Turkey to release remaining detained Americans

Protection of religious freedom central to Trump admin's foreign policy: Pompeo

Washington:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Turkey to quickly release other Americans in detention after it freed a pastor at the centre of a crisis in relations.

“Pastor (Andrew) Brunson is finally coming home to America, following a long ordeal for the pastor and his family. We hope that the Turkish government will quickly release our other detained US citizens and State Department locally employed staff,” Pompeo tweeted Friday.

“The world should know that (President Donald Trump) and the State Department continue to work hard to bring home all American hostages and those wrongfully imprisoned and detained,” he tweeted.

The United States had imposed tariffs and sanctioned senior government officials to pressure Turkey on Brunson, whose two-year detention had particularly outraged Trump’s conservative Christian base.

But two Turkish employees of US diplomatic missions remain in jail. One of them, former Adana consulate staffer Hamza Ulucay, was Friday denied release in a separate court hearing.

And NASA scientist Serkan Golge, a dual US-Turkish national, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in February on terror charges, a term reduced to a five years last month.

 

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