White House Announces Sanctions on Turkish Ministers Over Detention of US Pastor
20:37 01.08.2018(updated 21:12 01.08.2018)
The sanctions were introduced by Washington against Turkish officials, including Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu due to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
The US Treasury Department announced on Friday that it would place sanctions on members of the Turkish government.
"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a subsequent statement formally announcing the financial restrictions. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately."
According to the White House, President Donald Trump has discussed the issue with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on several occasions.
"We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders added, referring to Brunson.
Brunson, an evangelical pastor, has lived and worked in Turkey for over 23 years and was arrested in October 2016 in the aftermath of the July 2016 military coup attempt against President Erdogan. He was accused of being affiliated with the movement of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara considers to be the mastermind behind the coup attempt.
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