US announces sanctions against Turkish cabinet ministers over Brunson arrest
The United States announced sanctions against Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Aug. 1 over the country's imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the two ministers had played leading roles in Brunson's arrest.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement formally announcing the financial restrictions.
"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately," he said.
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 the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which Ankara blames for the failed coup in 2016. He was transferred to house arrest on July 25.
Sanders said that President Donald Trump had spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about Brunson.
President Donald Trump said on July 26 that “the United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.”
Anticipation of the U.S. sanctions had already helped to send the Turkish Lira to an all-time low against the dollar on Aug. 1.