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US Hits NATO Ally With Sanctions

Trump had told Turkey to free jailed pastor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2018 4:58 AM CDT
Suleyman Soylu, Turkey's interior minister, listens to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presenting his new Cabinet during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, last month.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
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(Newser) – President Trump has made good on his threat to hit Turkey with sanctions if American pastor Andrew Brunson wasn't freed. The country's justice minister and interior minister, Abdulhamit Gul and Suleyman Soylu, have been sanctioned over what White House press secretary Sarah Sanders describes as the "unfair and unjust detention" of the North Carolina pastor and longtime Turkey resident, who was jailed for around two years before being shifted to house arrest last month, the BBC reports. Brunson was charged with espionage and aiding terrorist groups in the 2016 crackdown that followed a failed coup and faces up to 35 years if convicted on all counts.

Sanders said that the sanctions on the NATO ally came after Trump discussed the matter with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan "many times." Turkish officials vowed that the sanctions, which ban American companies and individuals from doing business with the men, would not go unanswered, NPR reports. Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the move "disrespectfully intervenes with our judicial system, stands in contrast to the essence of our relations, and will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries." The ministry said Turkey would deliver "an equivalent response" if the US didn't walk back its "wrong decision." (Read more Turkey stories.)

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