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The imprisonment of U.S. pastor to escalate the rhetoric with Turkey
War of words between the presidents of Trump and Erdogan about the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, Connor Powell has the latest from Jerusalem.
The trump administration on Wednesday sanctioned top Turkish officials about the country’s imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctions and for the first time, announced by the White house, the target of Turkey, minister of justice and the Minister of the interior on the implementation of the 50-year-old pastor.
“Pastor Brunson to the unjust detention and continued persecution by the Turkish officials is simply unacceptable,” Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “President Trump has made it very clear that the United States expects Turkey to allow him to immediately release.”
The administration said the two officials sanctioned — Turkey’s Minister of justice Abdulhamit Gül and interior Minister Süleyman Soylu — both of which played leading roles in the organisations responsible for Brunson arrest and detention. The sanctions effectively block any property or interest in the property controlled by them in the United States and bar Americans from employment in business with them.
Brunson, a Protestant pastor, was arrested in December 2016, and thrown into prison. He was recently released to home detention.
In Ankara, Turkey, the United States requested, to reverse his decision and promised to “respond in kind without delay” against what they described as an aggressive attitude which by the trump management. It went on about possible measures.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously warned not to impose U.S. sanctions against his government. Saturday evening, the Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying Washington “is not the Turkey back down with sanctions.”
The pastor, who lived originally from the Black Mountain, N. C., in Turkey for 23 years and led the Izmir Church of the resurrection.
Brunson was detained, in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup at the expense of the “crimes in the name of terrorist groups, to be a member of” and espionage. He faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted, in two points at the end of his current study.
Vice-President Mike Pence said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that Brunson is the latest release on house arrest “is just not good enough.”
“Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man. He is a man of deep Christian faith who has served in Turkey for more than 20 years … There is no credible evidence of a fail-worthy behavior against him,” Pence said.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.