White House Sanctions Turkey Officials Over Detention of US Pastor

American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson right escorted by Turkish plainclothes officers arrives at his house in Izmir Turkey

Last month Trump hit out on Twitter at Turkey over its decision to keep the pastor in custody after a Turkish court denied a request for the release of Andrew Brunson.

Brunson was held for almost two years in prison on terror-related charges before he was moved last week to house arrest.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States. has grown exhausted of waiting for Turkish action on the matter.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has also called the detention "unjust", adding, "Turkey knows our position well".

In a tweet translated by the state-run Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu also vowed that the "US attempt to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered".

"There is no doubt that this will greatly damage constructive efforts working to solve the issues between the two countries", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Brunson's detention has deepened a rift between Washington and Ankara, which are also at odds over the Syrian war, Turkey's plan to buy a missile defense system from Russian Federation, and planned US sanctions on Iran - which supplies fuel to Turkey. Turkey's Foreign Ministry was expected to release a statement later on Wednesday.

"It's quite unprecedented, the US sanctioning ministers of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally", said Aykan Erdemir, a former member of Turkish parliament and now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.

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But the move stoked tensions rather than defusing the crisis, with USA media reports accusing Turkey of reneging on a deal to free him, which Ankara has denied.

He is also charged with helping the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), the group behind a coup attempt in July 2016.

"You have a pastor too", Erdogan said then".

Eissenstat said Turkey's failure to understand U.S. outrage over Brunson's imprisonment - particularly in Congress - played a role in the diplomatic crisis.

Though the sanctions designations on the two ministers were largely symbolic-and a far cry from broader sanctions on the financial sector the United States could deploy-they still sent the Turkish lira to a record low.

Turkey is calling on the United States to reverse its decision to sanction two Turkish government ministers over a detained American pastor and is threatening to retaliate "without delay".

The situation is a setback for U.S. "It's time - once and for all - for the Trump-Pence Administration to take away Erdogan's veto of honest American remembrance of Turkey's World War I-era genocide and exile of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, and other Christian nations".

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