Turkey threatens to retaliate against any US sanctions over detained pastor

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A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday that Turkey is prepared to retaliate to any sanctions the U.S. imposes over a detained American pastor, according to Reuters. 

But the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, also said Turkey expects the two countries to resolve their differences through diplomacy and that foreign ministers from each side were planning to hold talks, Reuters reported.

{mosads}The comments come after President Trump last week threatened “large sanctions” against Turkey over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor who has been imprisoned in the country on charges of espionage and terrorism.

“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being,” Trump tweeted last Thursday, after Brunson was ordered to be placed under house arrest for the remainder of his trial.

U.S. officials contend that the pastor’s capture was based on false charges.

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

Turkey’s foreign minister responded forcefully to the statements from Trump and from Pence, tweeting last week that Turkey will “never tolerate threats from anybody.”

The Department of the Treasury, which is in charge of administering financial sanctions, has not announced any new penalties for Turkey over Brunson’s detainment. 

Brunson worked in Turkey for 23 years as a pastor before he was detained more than a year ago for an alleged connection to a failed coup against Erdoğan in 2016. 

Reuters separately reported on Tuesday that a Turkish court rejected Brunson’s appeal to be released from house arrest while he stands trial. 

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