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Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen and a Turkish resident for over two decades, has been arrested as part of Ankara's probe into the 2016 failed military coup. Turkey has waged a two-year effort to have Gulen extradited from the United States.

Washington sanctioned Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu over the pastor's detention.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency tweeted Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu's statement in which he said: "US attempt to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered".

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

In this case, the Treasury Department showed greater creativity in the use of financial sanctions to target just two senior officials - one of whom said on Twitter he had no US holdings - in order to send a clear message to a foreign ally. The penalties also bar any U.S. transactions with the two men.

The sanctions are being prepared under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which allows the USA government to target individuals, companies or other entities involved in corruption or human-rights abuses anywhere in the world.

Vice President Pence has also said the administration would impose sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was not released.

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


The move targeting Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu further ratcheted up tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, with Ankara vowing to retaliate over the measures and what it dubbed an "aggressive attitude".

"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.

US officials have repeatedly said that Brunson is innocent and demanded his release.

Mr Brunson has been in a Turkish jail since October 2016 for allegedly being a threat to national security. "President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action".

"The US should not forget that unless it changes its attitude, it will lose a strong and honest partner like Turkey", he added.

He added, "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately".

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. The pastor has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.


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