SINGAPORE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that US sanctions on Turkey showed Washington was "very serious" in demanding the release of an American pastor whose detention has sparked a diplomatic crisis.
Andrew Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, was placed under house arrest last week following nearly two years in jail on charges of espionage and supporting terror groups.
Washington has hit two top Turkish officials with sanctions over Brunson's detention, prompting Ankara to threaten reciprocal measures.
Pompeo made the comments before he met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a regional security forum in Singapore on Friday.
As he arrived in the city-state, Pompeo told reporters: "The Turks were on notice that... it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned."
On the sanctions, he said: "I hope they'll see this for what it is, a demonstration that we're very serious."
"Brunson needs to come home. As do all the Americans being held by the Turkish government," Pompeo added. "They've been holding these folks for a long time. These are innocent people."
Two Turkish employees of US consulates in Turkey are also currently in jail on terror charges and another is under house arrest, while several Americans have been caught up in the crackdown that followed a failed 2016 coup.