02:11 - Source: CNN
Trump threatens sanctions on Turkey over pastor
CNN —  

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning NATO ally Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara will freeze the assets in Turkey of US “justice and interior” secretaries, state-run Anadolu reported.

It was not immediately clear which specific US officials he was referring to or whether the officials have any Turkish assets. The attorney general heads the Justice Department in the United States.

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

“We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong,” Sanders said, calling Brunson’s detention “unfair and unjust.”

The US Treasury announced that the US is sanctioning the two Turkish officials, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, for their role in Brunson’s arrest and detention.

“Pastor Brunson’s unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately.”

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Twitter, saying, “the effort by the US to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered. We cannot solve our problems until the US administration understands that it cannot get its unlawful demands with this method.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday he was “hopeful that in the coming days” Turkey would free Brunson.

CNN’s Michael Callahan, Gul Tuysuz and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.