USA sanctions Turkish government ministers over detained Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson

Talk Turkey Erdogan suggests adding ‘T’ to BRICS

Late Saturday, Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying that Washington "cannot make Turkey back down with sanctions".

"The Turkish government refused to release Pastor Brunson after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan, and my conversations with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu".

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States. has grown exhausted of waiting for Turkish action on the matter.

The White House announced that the U.S.is imposing sanctions on Turkey's minister of justice and minister of the interior over their country's treatment of the Rev. Andrew Brunson.

Turkey's foreign ministry said it had shared "necessary information" with the U.S., but insisted the case should be left with its judiciary. He could face up to 35 years in prison, if convicted.

Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey last week at the State Department's first Ministerial on Religious Freedom that if it did not release Brunson, it would face US sanctions.

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

He added, "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

Under the sanctions to be imposed by the Treasury Department, any property, or interest in property, belonging to Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul or Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu within USA jurisdiction would be blocked.

Trump, who met with Erdogan last month at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, believed he had made a deal with the Turkish leader that included releasing Brunson in exchange for a Turkish woman being held in Israel on terrorism charges. Pence has said that "there is no credible evidence against" Brunson.

"The biggest takeaway of all of this ... is we're finally seeing frustrations with Turkey coalesce across the USA government", she said.

Ankara accuses Gulen of organising the July 2016 failed coup, claims which he denies.

Last month Trump hit out on Twitter at Turkey over its decision to keep the pastor in custody after a Turkish court denied a request for the release of Andrew Brunson.

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

"We are still pursuing a diplomatic approach".

Washington accused the two ministers of leading government organisations behind "serious human rights abuses". He's a man of profound Christian faith, who has ministered in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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