Turkish ministers shrug off US sanctions targeting them
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu (L) and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül are seen in this file photo at a signing ceremony.
The two Turkish ministers who were targeted by United States sanctions over Turkey’s imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson have shrugged off the threat.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Aug. 1 the sanctions by the U.S. Department of Treasury would target Turkey’s justice and interior ministers, whose agencies she said were responsible for the pastor’s arrest and detention.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül vowed in a tweet late Aug. 1 that he has “not even a single cent” in the United States. “I did not have any dream but living in my country,” he added.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also reacted on Twitter. “We [only] have one property in America and that is FETÖ. We will not leave him there. We will take him,” Soylu said on Aug. 2, referring to the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and his movement, dubbed by the government as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
Under the sanctions, any property, or interest in property, belonging to Gül and Soylu within U.S. jurisdiction would be blocked. Americans would generally be prohibited from doing business with them.
Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETÖ, which Ankara blames for the failed coup in 2016. He was transferred to house arrest on July 25.