Treasury Sanctions Two Turkish Officials Over Imprisonment of Brunson

02 August, 2018, 10:59 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson right escorted by Turkish plainclothes officers arrives at his house in Izmir Turkey

President Donald Trump is following through on threats to sanction Turkey for the arrest and detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. It said Turkey would "respond in kind without delay" against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States.

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

"We call on the USA administration to walk back from this wrong decision", the Turkish foreign ministry said in response to the news, calling the move a "hostile stance". The United States has blamed both for being involved in Brunson's arrest and detention.

Turkey is also angry at the United States for its refusal to extradite Gulen, who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania and vehemently denies that he masterminded the failed 2016 coup bid.

A State Department official was unable to confirm any planned meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, but a lawyer following Brunson's case said high-level contacts were ongoing. The sanctions against them prohibit US citizens from doing business with both men and block any of their property that rests within American jurisdiction.

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.

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

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

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"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong", she said.

Brunson was recently put under house arrest after 21 months in jail due to deteriorating health.

"President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action", Pompeo said in a statement.

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

The lira, Turkey's currency, fell to record lows amid signs of possible sanctions.

"We join with our coalition partners - In Defense of Christians and the Hellenic American Leadership Council - in welcoming the Administration's launch of a sanctions regime against Turkey", said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

He wrote: "A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected US Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison". The pastor has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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