U.S. Prepares List of Turkey Economic Sanctions Targets
02 August, 2018, 10:59 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
U.S. 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. It said Turkey would "respond in kind without delay" against what it described as an aggressive stance by the United States. He faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted on both counts at the end of his ongoing trial.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul (above right) and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu (above left) were being targeted for their role in the detention of 50-year-old Andrew Craig Brunson.
US pastor Andrew Brunson reacts as he arrives at his home after being released from the prison in Izmir, Turkey July 25, 2018.
He is also charged with helping the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), the group behind a coup attempt in July 2016.
The sanctions will freeze the U.S. assets of Turkey's minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and its minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu. The sanctions against them prohibit USA citizens from doing business with both men and block any of their property that rests within American jurisdiction.
The U.S. sanctions were imposed under the auspices of the Magnitsky Act, originally a tool to punish Russian officials for serious human rights abuses but which is now being applied to human rights abusers worldwide.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said in a statement: "The president is not acting alone".
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has also called the detention "unjust", adding, "Turkey knows our position well". The decision "will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries", the ministry said in a statement.
Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, was placed under house arrest last week after almost two years in jail.
Brunson's supporters maintain that the charges against him were fabricated.
"President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action", Pompeo said.
The Turkish lira plummeted to a new low after the sanctions were announced.
President Donald Trump warned last week that he might 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 pastor has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.
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