Monday, 17 December, 2018

Trump imposes sanctions on Turkish officials over detained American pastor

Angela Merkel with President Erdogan in Instanbul in 2015 Angela Merkel with President Erdogan in Instanbul in 2015GUIDO BERGMANN GETTY
Kelvin Reese | 02 August, 2018, 10:57

The ministry called the sanctions a "disrespectful intervention in our legal system" that would harm "the constructive efforts toward resolving problems between the two countries".

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted, "We will not be able to resolve our problems unless the USA administration realizes that it can not reach its unlawful demands through this method".

Bruson was arrested in Turkey in October 2016.

Analysts say relations between the United States and Turkey have come under increasing strain in the past two years over the US role in Syria and Turkey's stronger ties with Russian Federation.

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, quickly responded, also via Twitter: "No one dictates Turkey". Tens of thousands of Turks were arrested on similar charges. "Suffice it to say I think these are totally appropriate measures to take in order to deal with the Turkish government's hostage taking", he said, "not only of Pastor Brunson but also other Americans and the USA government's local employees".

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

"Our fellow citizens aren't bargaining chips", Sen.

"We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey", Sanders told journalists, referring to Brunson, who is at the center of a bitter diplomatic spat between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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. The sanctions effectively block any property or interest in property controlled by them in the USA, and bar Americans from engaging in transactions with them.

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The indictment against Brunson accuses him of participating in the coup, as well as attempting to convert Turkish Kurds to Christianity. "In order to improve its relations with the United States, our country has displayed necessary political will and did its part more than enough".

Over the course of 18 months, President Donald Trump has shown he's willing to use American economic might in ways his predecessors were too cautious - or too prudent - to risk. A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate are supportive of the president acting on behalf of an innocent American being held by tyrants in Turkey.

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

President Trump has discussed Pastor Bruson with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "on several occassions", Sanders said in response to a reporter's question during Wednesday's White House briefing.

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

Though the sanctions designations on the two ministers were largely symbolic-and a far cry from broader sanctions on the financial sector the United States could deploy-they still sent the Turkish lira to a record low.

"We are still pursuing a diplomatic approach", Nauert said.

The Treasury accuses Gul and Soylu of serious human rights violations. He's a man of profound Christian faith, who has ministered in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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

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