Turkey says to retaliate against U.S. decision to impose sanctions over pastor

Turkey says to retaliate against U.S. decision to impose sanctions over pastor

Turkey says to retaliate against U.S. decision to impose sanctions over pastor

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose "large sanctions" on Turkey unless Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor arrested on charges of involvement in a coup attempt in 2016, is released.

The two officials, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, will have their assets and properties under United States jurisdiction blocked and Americans will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with them.

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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government won't back down and may "go its own way" if the usa imposes sanctions.

US Congress is also considering two legislations to punish Turkey, one would restrict worldwide loans and another attached to the defence authorisation that would block F-35 deliveries to Ankara.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the sanctions would target Turkey's justice and interior ministers, whose agencies she said were responsible for the pastor's arrest and detention.

Faced with pressure from USA officials a year ago, Erdogan suggested Brunson's release may depend on US compliance with one of his own demands: the extradition of elderly Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has repeatedly accused of organizing the 2016 coup from his compound in Pennsylvania, despite Gulen's denials.

The pastor denies the charges and his defense team argues the case is built on questionable witness statements. The Treasury Department noted in its press release that he "has reportedly been a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the Government of Turkey".

Brunson was initially detained in October 2016 during Turkey's crackdown following an attempted putsch.

President Donald Trump warned last week that he might impose sanctions against Turkey, a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson in a case that has strained U.S.

The sanctions come before a scheduled meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Singapore on Friday.

Turkey is also angry at the United States for its refusal to extradite Gulen, who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania.

TRT World was joined by Jon Brain in Washington DC and Andrew Hopkins in Ankara for the latest.

He added, "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

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