Turkey, US lift tit-for-tat sanctions

The United States had imposed sanctions on the officials, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, in August over Turkey’s imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Brunson was released in October and has since returned to the United States.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said it had lifted sanctions imposed against U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions within the framework of reciprocity.

The ministry said in a statement released minutes after the U.S. move that the sanctions on Nielsen and Sessions, which include a travel ban into the country and freezing of assets in Turkey, had been lifted in response to the U.S. move.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump had discussed improving frosty relations between Washington and Ankara during a call between the two leaders, the Turkish presidency said on Thursday.

Erdogan, Trump talk bilateral, regional issues

In phone call, presidents stress commitment to constructive steps to strengthen relations between the 2 countries

Turkey’s president and his U.S. counterpart spoke about bilateral and regional issues in a phone call, Turkey’s presidential press office said on Thursday.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Donald Trump spoke on bilateral issues, including the latest developments in Syria — including Manbij and Idlib — according to a statement from the office.

The call comes as Turkish and U.S. troops begin joint patrols in Manbij, Syria, under a pact meant to rid the area of the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

Stressing their commitment to constructive steps to strengthen ties between their countries, the two leaders agreed to stay in close contact on bilateral and regional issues in the days to come.

During the call, Erdogan also condemned Saturday’s deadly synagogue attack in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, expressing his condolences to the victims’ families and the American public.

In the attack, at least 11 people were killed when a gunman opened fire during a ceremony at a synagogue in the state of Pennsylvania.

Before the attack, the accused gunman expressed anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant views online.