US sanctions Turkish officials over pastor's detention

02 August, 2018, 11:00 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Demiroren News Agency  AFP  File  STRAndrew Brunson spent almost two years in jail after his initial detention in October 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will not bow to threats fueled by an "evangelist and Zionist mentality" in the US, as the diplomatic crisis between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members over the fate of a detained American pastor showed no signs of abating.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States. has grown exhausted of waiting for Turkish action on the matter.

The Treasury Department will place sanctions on Turkey's minister of justice and minister of interior, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed at a press briefing.

Earlier Wednesday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed his country would not give in to threats from the USA over Brunson and accused Washington of showing an "evangelist, Zionist mentality".

"Turkey knows our position well: Pastor Brunson must be released from house arrest and brought back home", Pompeo's spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters travelling with him.

And on Wednesday the Treasury Department laid blame for his ongoing trial primarily with Abdulhamit Gul, Turkey's justice minister, and Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. 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.

The sanctions are being prepared under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which allows the US government to target individuals, companies or other entities involved in corruption or human-rights abuses anywhere in the world.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss Brunson and the sanctions next week.

More news: California wildfires kill six

He said Erdogan overestimated the significance of his personal relationship with Trump, given growing impatience with Turkey in Congress, the State Department, and Pentagon.

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

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

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

"The US should not forget that unless it changes its attitude, it will lose a strong and honest partner like Turkey", he added.

Turkey's foreign ministry said it had shared "necessary information" with the U.S., but insisted the case should be left with its judiciary.

At the same time, the company announced that the sale price will be determined according to the dollar, not the Turkish lira.

He wrote: "A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected US Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison".

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