Trump imposes sanctions on Turkish officials over detained American pastor

Trump imposes sanctions on Turkish officials over detained American pastor

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. Turkey has waged a two-year effort to have Gulen extradited from the United States.

Speaking privately to journalists late Saturday, President Erdogan broke his silence on the crisis, saying the USA can't use sanctions to make Turkey back down.

Trump had issued repeated calls for Brunson's release and called the pastor's detention "a total disgrace".

Sanders said the officials played "leading roles" in the arrest and detention of 50-year-old Andrew Brunson.

"As a result, any property or interest in property of both ministers within United States jurisdiction is blocked and USA persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them", she said.

The Treasury accuses Gul and Soylu of serious human rights violations. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thought they had a deal to get Brunson's release last month.

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

Trump touts economy: 'These numbers are very, very sustainable'
That revision showed that growth in 2017 came in at 2.2 percent, slightly lower than the 2.3 percent previously reported . That's because, ahead of retaliatory tariffs by China on US agricultural products, China went on a soybean buying spree.

"Today's action dramatically underscores a glaring inconsistency: The White House continues to enforce Ankara's Armenian Genocide gag-rule even as its imposes sanctions against Turkey's increasingly anti-Armenian conduct".

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has also called the detention "unjust", adding, "Turkey knows our position well".

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have spiraled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held for 21 months in a Turkish prison until his transfer to house arrest last week - a move Washington dismissed as insufficient.

Last week, Brunson was allowed to leave prison and remain under house arrest, but his request to leave Turkey was denied.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ms Sanders said: "We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong". Late Saturday, Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying that Washington "cannot make Turkey back down with sanctions".

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

The upheaval over the Brunson case comes as U.S. -Turkey relations had begun to improve slowly after years of tension, mostly having to do with conflicting objectives in Syria.

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