Turkish court rejects appeal for U.S. pastor’s release

  • Turkish court rejects appeal for U.S. pastor’s release

Turkish court rejects appeal for U.S. pastor’s release

The United States Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over detention of a U.S. pastor.

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

"We strongly protest the sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department", read the written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry late Aug 1.

Although the statement did not detail what sanctions Turkey will retaliate, but it's expected that similar sanctions will be imposed on Attorney General and Secretary of Interior of the USA administration.

A Turkish justice ministry spokesman did not immediately comment on the sanctions. It said Turkey would "respond in kind without delay" against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States.

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

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

The court had last week ordered that Brunson, who had spent nearly two years in jail after his initial detention in October 2016, be moved from jail to house arrest at his home in Izmir.

President Donald Trump followed through on his warning last week to impose sanctions against Turkey, a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson in a case that has strained U.S.

The officials targeted under the so-called Global Magnitsky Act are Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. "It is impossible to accept the U.S. Administration's threatening messages, which totally disregard our alliance and friendly relations between our countries". He faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a 14 July phone call to let Ozkan go in a "trade" for Brunson, who has spent 21 months in Turkish detention. 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.

The move failed to secure Brunson's release.