Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Finance | By Marshall Campbell

White House Sanctions Turkey Officials Over Detention of US Pastor

White House Sanctions Turkey Officials Over Detention of US Pastor

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the men had played leading roles in Brunson's 2016 arrest and detention.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will not bow to threats fueled by an "evangelist and Zionist mentality" in the USA, 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.

In this case, the Treasury Department showed greater creativity in the use of financial sanctions to target just two senior officials - one of whom said on Twitter he had no USA holdings - in order to send a clear message to a foreign ally. Americans would generally be prohibited from doing business with them.

But the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, also said Turkey expects the two countries to resolve their differences through diplomacy and that foreign ministers from each side were planning to hold talks, Reuters reported.

"Without delay, there will be a response to this aggressive attitude that will not serve any objective", the ministry added.

"We call on the United States. administration to walk back from this wrong decision", a statement by the Turkish foreign ministry said, calling Washington's action a "hostile stance".

In the news release announcing the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called Brunson's detention "unjust" and "simply unacceptable".

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"We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey", Sanders said of Brunson. "This has gone on far too long". "President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action". They did not shut down the church, which has continued operating under one of Brunson's ministry partners, or arrest other members. As the regime has raised the topic of seeking Gülen's extradition with the US government, it's believed the Americans have been detained as potential swap leverage. The other is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Brunson, who was arrested in 2016 and is now under house arrest pending trial, denies Turkey's allegations.

To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: release Pastor Andrew Brunson now or be prepared to face the consequencesWhat happened next?

On Wednesday, Erdogan accused the United States of having an "evangelist, Zionist mentality" and using "threat-filled language".

The spat over the pastor has stoked tensions between the two governments, which were already quarrelling over Washington's support of a Syrian Kurdish militia.

He is also charged with ties to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Erdogan blames for the failed coup.

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