Trump imposes sanctions over Turkey's detaining of minister

Posted August 02, 2018

American Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson (C), who was charged with committing crimes, including spying for the PKK terror group and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation, arrives at the address, where he was put under house arrest due to his health problems, in Izmir, Turkey on July 25, 2018.

The measures came less than a week after President Trump promised to "impose large sanctions" on Turkey if Brunson was not immediately freed and allowed to come home, and Vice President Pence warned the Turkish government to "be prepared to face the consequences".

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs promised Wednesday to retaliate with "an equivalent response" if the USA does not walk back "this wrong decision".

"The aggressive attitude of the US serves no goal", it said in a statement, adding that Turkey would reciprocate "without delay".

Turkey's foreign minister responded forcefully to the statements from Trump and from Pence, tweeting last week that Turkey will "never tolerate threats from anybody".

Mr Brunson is accused of aiding plotters of an attempted coup in 2016. He is facing up to 35 years in prison if found guilty of supporting the coup.

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The US has maintained that there is no credible evidence to support the charges brought against Brunson.

On Tuesday, a Turkish court rejected Brunson's appeal to be released from house arrest during his trial on terrorism charges.

"We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust detention", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

The Turkish lira slid to a record low Wednesday after the White House announced it would sanction the country over the detention of a US pastor, dealing a fresh blow to what has been one of this year's worst-performing currencies.

In an extraordinary move directed at government officials of a fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country, the Treasury is freezing U.S. assets belonging to Abdulhamit Gul, the justice minister, and Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister. All their property within U.S. jurisdiction has been blocked, and USA citizens are also "generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with the two Turkish officials. "In order to improve its relations with the United States, our country has displayed necessary political will and did its part more than enough".

He said Erdogan overestimated the significance of his personal relationship with Trump, given growing impatience with Turkey in Congress, the State Department, and Pentagon. A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate are supportive of the president acting on behalf of an innocent American being held by tyrants in Turkey.

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The US imposed financial sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers yesterday for detaining an American pastor accused of backing a coup attempt against President Erdogan.

Pompeo said Trump had decided that sanctions were "the appropriate action".

The Turkish lira plummeted to a new low after the sanctions were announced.

"There is no doubt that this will greatly damage constructive efforts working to solve the issues between the two countries", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We are still pursuing a diplomatic approach". He's a man of profound Christian faith, who has ministered in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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