Turkey, US in diplomatic crisis after ministers hit by sanctions

02 August, 2018, 13:40 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • 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

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reacted to a US move to impose sanctions on him and the country's justice minister in a Twitter post on Thursday.

The sanctions are directed at Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu. Pompeo and Cavusoglu spoke by phone about Brunson's detention earlier Wednesday and are expected to meet on the margins of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week in Singapore, she said.

"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution..."

Turkey's foreign ministry did not waste time in hitting back, saying: "There is no doubt that this will greatly damage constructive efforts working to solve the issues between the two countries". A U.S. Treasury Department press release said the officials "serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses".

U.S. President Donald Trump has raised the case directly with Erdogan, Sanders said.

On Wednesday, Erdogan accused the United States of having an "evangelist, Zionist mentality" and using "threat-filled language".

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"A scandalous decision from Washington", said the headline in the pro-government Hurriyet daily.

His language was immediately echoed by Trump, who had enjoyed a relatively warm relationship with Erdogan and was even reported to have "fist-bumped" the Turkish president at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit last month.

Soylu said: "We will not leave him there".

The court trying Brunson has repeatedly refused to allow him to go free.

The Turkish Lira slid to a record low beyond 5 to the dollar and stocks fell on August 2, after the United States imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the trial of a USA pastor accused of backing terrorism.

Ankara and Washington are at odds over American support for a Kurdish militia in Syria and the United States is extremely wary over Turkey's growing cooperation with Russia and its deal to buy Russian air defence systems.

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USA pastor Andrew Brunson (C) is released from jail and will be put under house arrest during the duration of his trial, at Aliaga Prison in Izmir, Turkey.

Turkey is also angry at the United States for its refusal to extradite Gulen, who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania and vehemently denies that he masterminded the failed 2016 coup bid.

Cavusoglu himself tweeted: Noone dictates Turkey.

Gul meanwhile dismissed the sanctions, saying "I have neither a tree planted nor one penny in the United States or any other country outside of Turkey".

The Turkish lira fell to a record low of 5.0 against the dollar after the sanctions announcement, losing more than 1.6 per cent of its value.

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