Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions over detained pastor

Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions over detained pastor

Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions over detained pastor

On Thursday, President Donald Trump threatened to punish Turkey for the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

"He is suffering greatly", the president wrote. "The Government of Turkey should now release Pastor Brunson and immediately return him to the United States, an action that would begin to restore the longstanding friendship between our two nations".

An American pastor who had been jailed in Turkey for more than 1½ years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday (July 25) and put under house arrest as his trial continues.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in Washington, D.C., hours earlier at a conference on religious freedom, made a similar threat of "significant sanctions" against Ankara over the imprisoned pastor.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened Thursday to impose "large sanctions" on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey if that country does not release an American pastor now under house arrest.

The email address you have provided is already registered. Brunson denies all charges.

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

However, the escalation appears to have stopped after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later on Thursday.

"On the other hand, I know that behind the scenes there are some very important things happening from a number of different directions and I'm hoping the government of Turkey understands that this is not a sore that they should allow to fester if they want to have a decent relationship with the United States", Bauer said.

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"I find it hard to see how this relationship moves forward. if the Turkish government continues to detain Pastor Brunson as well as locally employed staff, journalists, and civil servants", Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said.

"The United States must reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey".

Arrested after the failed Turkish coup attempt in 2016, Brunson was charged with supposed ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party and USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey believes inspired much of the turbulence.

His lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, said on July 18 the prosecution has added the testimonies of two new anonymous witnesses to the case and that the court will hold its next hearing on October 12 to hear them and view new evidence.

It is thought standing up for a pastor will be appreciated by his Christian supporters. Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating a 2016 military coup.

The White House has not provided details on the proposed sanctions against Turkey, nor announced a firm deadline for Brunson's release.

A source told Hurriyet Daily News: "During the sanctions scheme of 2011 by the US, Tupras was able to purchase three to four cargoes of Iranian crude a month".

Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill that would require Washington to reject global loans to Turkey until Brunson and other Americans are freed or the harassment against them ends.

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