Turkey says to retaliate against USA decision to impose sanctions over pastor

BERLIN GERMANY- JULY 15 Pro Erdogan Berlin Turks wave Turkish flags and one gives the hand sign of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization as they gather in front of the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed coup

Study Turkish Background Germans Increasingly Feel Closer Bond to Turkey Than Germany Sean Gallup Getty Images 31 Jul 2018

The administration of President Donald Trump sanctioned two top Turkish officials on August 1 for their roles in the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

"Now is the time for Turkey to begin acting like the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that it claims to be and live up to its own constitution".

Brunson was recently put under house arrest after 21 months in jail due to deteriorating health.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said both men "played leading roles in the arrest and detention of Pastor Brunson".

She added that the two Turkish ministers had both played "leading roles" in the arrest of the U.S. pastor.

The sanctions freeze any property or assets on USA soil held by the two ministers, and bar U.S. citizens from doing business with them. Turkey's Foreign Ministry was expected to release a statement later on Wednesday. "This aggressive stance that does not serve any interest will be retaliated in the same, without delay".

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs promised Wednesday to retaliate with "an equivalent response" if the US does not walk back "this wrong decision". On Wednesday, he went further than many might have imagined he ever would. "President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action".

Brunson is among several USA citizens and Turkish employees of the US embassy under arrest.

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The US president's comments come a few days after he and Iran's leaders exchanged barbs threatening each other with war. . Since then, Tehran's clerical establishment has been under increasing US pressure and the prospect of renewed sanctions .

He stands accused of carrying out activities on behalf of two organisations Ankara considers terror groups. In Syria, the US has backed Syrian Kurds that the Turkish government considers an extension of a terrorist group. The other is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

His next hearing is set for October 12.

Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that Brunson's release to house arrest "is just not good enough".

"We will continue on our road that we believe in, without making the slightest concession from our freedom, independence and judicial independence", Erdogan said, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

On July 25, Brunson was moved from prison and placed under house arrest.

The Treasury's sanctions, called "designation packages", already include Turkey's justice minister and interior minister. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

The sanctions are being prepared under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which allows the USA government to target individuals, companies or other entities involved in corruption or human-rights abuses anywhere in the world.

The Turkish lira, which has been in decline against the dollar for most of 2018, fell to a record low of five per dollar on Wednesday after dropping 1.7 percent of its value following the sanctions' announcement.

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