US slaps sanctions over charged pastor


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The United States slapped sanctions on two Turkish officials Wednesday over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. Turkey vowed retaliation “without delay,” warning it would harm relations between the two allies.

President Donald Trump followed through on his warning last week to impose sanctions against Turkey, a key NATO ally, for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson in a case that has strained U.S.-Turkish relations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said his government wouldn’t back down and was willing to “go its own way” if the U.S. did act.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the sanctions by the Treasury Department would target Turkey’s justice and interior ministers, whose agencies she said were responsible for the pastor’s arrest and detention.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Turkish government refused to release Brunson “after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan,” along with his conversations with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosuglo.

In Ankara, Turkey called on the U.S. to reverse its decision and promised to “respond in kind without delay” against what it described as an aggressive stance by the Trump administration. It did not elaborate.

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