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 TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law 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 MnuchinTrump names Mulvaney acting chief of staff On The Money: House GOP struggles to get votes for B in wall funds | Fallout from Oval Office clash | Dems say shutdown would affect 800K workers | House passes 7 billion farm bill Conservative leader Meadows will not be White House chief of staff 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.