Ilhan Tanir
Nov 09 2017

U.S. Vice President Pence expresses "deep concern over arrests of American citizens" in Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence today, at the White House. The meeting came a day later than originally planned. 

Vice President Pence "expressed deep concern over the arrests of American citizens, Mission Turkey local staff, journalists, and members of civil society under the state of emergency and urged transparency and due process in the resolution of their cases." the strongly-worded White House statement said.

There are currently about a dozen or so Turkish-American and American citizens in jail in Turkey. Metin Topuz, a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul, was arrested on charges of links to a cleric blamed for last year’s failed coup. Another U.S. consulate worker from Adana has been charged and jailed since last March. The United States suspended all visa services in Turkey about a month ago in an unprecedented reaction to the Turkish arrests. This strongly-worded readout about the arrests of American citizens is just another sign of strains in bilateral relations.

The readout also said "The leaders expressed hope that their meeting would help to usher in a new chapter in U.S.-Turkey relations and agreed on the need for constructive dialogue, as friends and Allies, on bilateral challenges." The readout also called for more "further intergovernmental consultations toward... stability and security in the Middle East."

A senior US official confirmed to Ahval that Pence specifically talked about Pastor Andrew Brunson case to Yıldırım. Pastor has been jailed over a year in Turkey, charged by the Turkish authorities with espionage, attempting to abolish the Turkish Parliament and to overthrow the Turkish government and more.