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Turkey refuses to release pastor despite threat of US sanctions

A Turkish appeals court upheld U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson’s house arrest Thursday despite threats of retaliation from the Trump administration, according to Bloomberg.

Brunson has lived in Istanbul for more than 20 years and held under house arrest for nearly two on espionage and terror-related charges.

His detention is the source of the latest feud between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The White House said the charges against Brunson are baseless.

Last week, Trump said he would double tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey until Brunson is released. The administration has also sanctioned two top Turkish officials. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference MORE on Thursday threatened even more sanctions if Turkey does not release Brunson quickly.

Turkey has retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, including on cars and coal, and by threatening to boycott U.S. electronics.

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“Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” Trump tweeted Thursday.

 

The tariffs have taken their toll on the Turkish economy, with the lira dropping 20 percent in value last week, according to a CBS News report.