Monday, 12 November, 2018

Trump Hits Turkish Officials with Sanctions over Pastor Brunson's Detainment

Demiroren News Agency  AFP  File  STRAndrew Brunson spent almost two years in jail after his initial detention in October 2016 Demiroren News Agency AFP File STRAndrew Brunson spent almost two years in jail after his initial detention in October 2016
Kenneth Drake | 02 August, 2018, 10:59

The threatening language of the United States will not benefit anyone, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, as relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies soured over the case of a US pastor jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long cited a separation of powers to say that he has no control over his country's judiciary, although in the past he has expressed an interest in trading "pastors" with the United States.

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.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency tweeted Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu's statement in which he said: "US attempt to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered".

"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution..."

Faced with pressure from US officials past year, Erdogan suggested Brunson's release may depend on USA 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.

"At the president's direction the Department of Treasury is sanctioning Turkey's minister of justice and minister of interior, both of whom played leading roles in the arrest and detention of pastor Brunson", she explained.

As a result of the sanctions, US persons can't engage in transactions with either man and any property of theirs within USA jurisdiction is blocked.


Treasury accused the two of "implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses". "It's time - once and for all - for the Trump-Pence Administration to take away Erdogan's veto of honest American remembrance of Turkey's World War I-era genocide and exile of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, and other Christian nations".

U.S. President Donald Trump has raised the case directly with Erdogan, Sanders said.

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

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

He was put under house arrest last month after two years in prison in Turkey.

Pompeo said Trump had decided that sanctions were "the appropriate action". The decision "will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries", the ministry said in a statement.

Last week, Ankara rebuked Trump's threats, which had been echoed by his Vice President Mike Pence.

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