STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

US sanctions 2 Turkish officials over detention of US pastor

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning NATO ally Turkey's ministers of justice and interior in response t...

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 10:10 AM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 10:10 AM

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning NATO ally Turkey's ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong," Sanders said, calling Brunson's detention "unfair and unjust."

Continents and regions

Embargoes and sanctions

International relations

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

North America

The Americas

Turkey

United States

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

Government departments and authorities

Political Figures - Intl

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

State departments and diplomatic services

Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed Brunson's imprisonment "on several occasions," said Sanders, who added that the US President is "not happy with Turkey's decision not to release" the pastor.

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

The US Treasury announced that the US is sanctioning the two Turkish officials, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, for their role in Brunson's arrest and detention.

The statement said, "These officials serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses, and are being targeted pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, 'Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,' which builds upon Treasury's Global Magnitsky Act authorities."

"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately."

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Twitter, saying, "the effort by the US to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered. We cannot solve our problems until the US administration understands that it cannot get its unlawful demands with this method."

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also put out a strong response, stating, "we vehemently protest the sanctions decision announced by the US Treasury Department. ... A reciprocal response will be given without delay to this aggressive attitude which serves no purpose." The ministry also called on the US to step back from what it called a "wrongful decision."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with Cavusoglu on Friday in Singapore and US European Commander General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is in Ankara this week for meetings with his Turkish counterparts.

"The Turkish government refused to release Pastor Brunson after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan, and my conversations with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action," Pompeo said Wednesday.

The "unjust detention" must end, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert added. "Turkey knows our position well. This has gone on far too long," she said.

Brunson was arrested in 2016 during the Turkish government's crackdown following an attempted coup. In March, he was formally charged with espionage and having links to terrorist organizations. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison. He maintains his innocence.

Last week, he was released to house arrest and ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Following his move to house arrest, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose "large sanctions" if Turkey did not return Brunson to the US.

"The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being," Trump tweeted.

"He is suffering greatly," Trump added. "This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!"

A senior US official told CNN last week that Erdogan and Trump had agreed to a deal that would see Israel release an imprisoned Turkish national in exchange for Turkey freeing Brunson.

But on Sunday, Erdogan denied any such deal and warned that Turkey would not be bullied into releasing Brunson by Trump.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 79°
Oxford
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 79°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather