Turkey says to retaliate against United States 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

Pastor Andrew Brunson, a USA citizen and a Turkish resident for over two decades, has been arrested as part of Ankara's probe into the 2016 failed military coup.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long cited a separation of powers to say that he has no control over his country's judiciary, although in the past he has expressed an interest in trading "pastors" with the United States.

"We believe he's a victim of unfair and unjust detention", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

While negotiations to release one of the people, evangelical Pastor Andrew Brunson, are ongoing, the preparation of the so-called "designation packages" shows how close the USA has come to imposing unprecedented penalties against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

The minister, Andrew Brunson, was detained in October 2016 and accused of spying and participating in a failed military coup against the Turkish government.

The sanctions will freeze the United States assets of Turkey's minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and its minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu.

Wednesday's measures block the two ministers' assets in the U.S. and prohibits American citizens from "engaging in transactions with them".

President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Tuesday that Turkey would not "bow down to any threats", and would retaliate against any USA sanctions.

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Brunson's supporters maintain that the charges against him were fabricated. Although the woman was released and deported to Istanbul, the Turkish court hearing Brunson's case agreed last week only to allow him to leave prison for house arrest while his trial continued.

Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, was placed under house arrest last week after almost two years in jail.

"President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action", Pompeo said in a statement.

Analysts say relations between the United States and Turkey have come under increasing strain in the past two years over the US role in Syria and Turkey's stronger ties with Russian Federation.

"We join with our coalition partners - In Defense of Christians and the Hellenic American Leadership Council - in welcoming the Administration's launch of a sanctions regime against Turkey", said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

At the same time, the company announced that the sale price will be determined according to the dollar, not the Turkish lira. Turkey's Foreign Ministry was expected to release a statement later Wednesday.

Last week, Ankara rebuked Trump's threats, which had been echoed by his Vice President Mike Pence.

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