The United States said on Friday it lifted sanctions imposed on two top officials in Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s cabinet, as the two Nato allies sought to normalize ties in the wake of a bitter dispute, Bloomberg reported.
The United States on Aug. 1 had imposed sanctions on Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu as freezing their assets over the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was accused of backing a coup attempt against Erdogan in 2016.
Lifting sanctions imposed two Turkish ministers was a sign of improved relations after Turkey freed Brunson from detention three weeks ago, according to Bloomberg.
Turkey’s foreign ministry said that it was also lifting sanctions imposed on two senior U.S. officials, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Bloomberg reported.
The lira rallied on the news, rising as much as 1.7 per cent against the dollar and building on recent gains.
A Turkish court in the western city of Izmir ruled on Oct. 12 that the evangelical preacher was guilty of aiding terrorist organisations and sentenced him to just over three years in prison. But it ruled that, due to time already served, he could walk free. Brunson arrived back in the United States the following day and visited the White House to meet with President Donald Trump.
Tensions between the two countries remain across a raft of issues, including American support for Syrian Kurds and Ankara’s determination to purchase a Russian air defence system. But the release of Brunson was seen as removing a significant obstacle in the relationship between Washington and Ankara.