Monday, 19 November, 2018

Turkish minister reacts to U.S. sanctions move by 'property' remark

US sanctioning Turkish officials over detention of American pastor- White House US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at a NATO summit in Brussels
Cristina Norman | 02 August, 2018, 13:40

The sanctions, it said in a statement, will "seriously damage" efforts to put already tenuous U.S. -Turkey relations back on track, and the Foreign Ministry called for them to be rescinded.

Turkey will retaliate against a United States decision to impose sanctions on two senior ministers over the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Pompeo and Cavusoglu spoke by phone about Brunson's detention earlier Wednesday and are expected to meet on the margins of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week in Singapore, she said. Trump has repeatedly lauded Erdogan as a strong leader and, after their meeting last month in Brussels, praised the Turkish president while criticizing other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders.

"Without delay, there will be a response to this aggressive attitude that will not serve any objective", the ministry added.

The sanctions targeting Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu freeze any property or assets on U.S. soil held by the two ministers, and bar United States citizens from doing business with them.

On Wednesday, Erdogan accused the United States of having an "evangelist, Zionist mentality" and using "threat-filled language". "A historic rupture", added the opposition Cumhuriyet.

Brunson's situation received attention at the State Department's Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last week.

"We call on the U.S. administration to walk back from this wrong decision", a statement by the Turkish foreign ministry said, calling Washington's action a "hostile stance".

The court trying Brunson has repeatedly refused to allow him to go free.

Brunson risks up to 35 years in jail over charges that he acted on behalf of two groups viewed as terrorists by Ankara: the movement led by Gulen and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

A Turkish minister has defiantly mocked US sanctions against him, saying his only asset in the United States is a USA -based Muslim cleric whom Turkey blames for a failed coup and wants extradited.

United States pastor Andrew Brunson (C) is released from jail and will be put under house arrest during the duration of his trial, at Aliaga Prison in Izmir, Turkey.

Soylu tweeted that the only thing Turkey wanted in the United States was Gulen's group, vowing "we won't leave that there, we will get it!"

"I have neither a tree planted nor one penny in the U.S. or any other country outside of Turkey", Gul said.

The Turkish lira fell to a record low of 5.0 against the dollar after the sanctions announcement, losing more than 1.6 per cent of its value. The currency has lost four percent against the dollar in the last week alone.

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