The Latest: Turkish minister shrugs off sanctions for pastor
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on an American pastor detained in Turkey (all times local):
Turkey’s justice minister has shrugged off a U.S. decision to impose sanctions against him and another Turkish government minister, saying he doesn’t have a penny to his name anywhere outside Turkey.
The U.S. announced sanctions against Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu over the detention of American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the ministers’ agencies were responsible for the pastor’s arrest and detention.
Gul took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that he had no assets outside Turkey and that he dreamt of owning “a small olive grove” in his Turkish hometown.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted: “The U.S. attempt to impose sanctions will not remain without an answer.”
Turkey is calling on the United States to reverse its decision to sanction two Turkish government ministers over a detained American pastor and is threatening to retaliate “without delay.”
A Foreign Ministry statement issued Wednesday said Turkey “strongly protests” the U.S. Treasury’s decision to impose sanctions against Turkey’s justice and interior ministers. It said Turkey would “respond in kind without delay” against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States.
President Donald Trump had warned last week that he might impose sanctions against Turkey for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson, who is under arrest in Turkey and accused of espionage and aiding terror groups.
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.”
The White House is announcing that the Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Trump administration will sanction Turkey’s minister of justice and minister of interior over the holding of 50-year-old Andrew Craig Brunson.
The administration says Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu both played leading roles in the organizations responsible for Brunson’s arrest and detention.
Brunson, an evangelical pastor, was arrested in December 2016 and jailed. He was recently released to home detention.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) has said his government won’t back down and may “go its own way” if the U.S. imposes sanctions.