Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Trump imposes sanctions over Turkey's detaining of minister

Trump imposes sanctions over Turkey's detaining of minister

It said Turkey would "respond in kind without delay" against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday it had designated Turkey's justice minister, Abdulhamit Gul, and interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, for their role in pastor Andrew Brunson's "unfair and unjust detention".

In a tweet translated by the state-run Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu also vowed that the "US attempt to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered". Brunson, who was recently released to home detention, was charged with committing crimes, including spying for the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey as well as the EU.

The minister, Andrew Brunson, was detained in October 2016 and accused of spying and participating in a failed military coup against the Turkish government.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the two men played leading roles in his 2016 arrest and later detention.

The two ministers will have any assets and properties under US jurisdiction blocked and USA persons will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with the ministers, CNN reported.

In a statement announcing the sanctions, the US Department of the Treasury said Gul and Soylu are the leaders of organisations that have engaged in "serious human rights abuse".

President Donald Trump had threatened Ankara with "large sanctions" if Brunson is not released.

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But the move stoked tensions rather than defusing the crisis, with U.S. media reports accusing Turkey of reneging on a deal to free him, which Ankara has denied. Relations between the United States and Turkey have plummeted over Brunson, who was in custody for 21 months in a Turkish prison until he was transferred to house arrest last week.

Mr. Brunson had been jailed for about 18 months on terrorism-related charges.

Brunson's supporters maintain that the charges against him were fabricated.

"The US should not forget that unless it changes its attitude, it will lose a strong and honest partner like Turkey", he added.

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

On Tuesday, Turkish government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara would retaliate against any US sanctions and hoped the conflict could be resolved during a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Cavusoglu later this week.

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. He's a man of profound Christian faith, who has ministered in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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