US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Turkey’s Envoy to the United States Serdar Kılıç have discussed the imprisonment of US pastor Andrew Brunson as well as bilateral ties between the two nations in a meeting on Monday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
"At the Turkish ambassador's request, Ambassador John Bolton met with Ambassador Serdar Kılıç of Turkey (on Monday) in the White House. They discussed Turkey's continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship," Sanders said.
Earlier on Monday, US President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2019 requiring an assessment of the US diplomatic and military relationship with Turkey amid Ankara’s potential purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems.
U.S. officials said no deadline had been set for Brunson's release, contradicting some media reports after the Bolton -Kılıç meeting. Brunson is accused of backing a coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan two years ago, charges that he has denied.
Last week, Trump authorized the doubling of steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey resulting in the Turkish lira reaching a record low. The Trump administration also froze the assets of two Turkish ministers.
The United States is also considering a fine against Turkey's state-owned Halkbank for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, Reuters news agency reported.