US threatens more sanctions on Turkey over detained pastor

Brunson, detained on terrorism charges, has been described as a ‘hostage’ by Trump [AFP]
The US has threatened to levy more sanctions on Turkey if Ankara does not release an American Christian Evangelical pastor held on terrorism charges.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested during a cabinet meeting on Thursday that the next spiral of tit-for-tat sanctions was coming soon, deepening a spat that has rattled financial markets, if Andrew Brunson is not released by Turkey.

“We have put sanctions on several of their cabinet members,” said Mnuchin. “We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release him quickly.”

US President Donald Trump prefaced Mnuchin’s remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend to the US. He later tweeted that the clergyman, who has been detained since 2016 when he was arrested in a government crackdown following a failed coup bid, was a “great patriot” being held “hostage”.

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