Turkey threatens retaliation against United States after sanctions

Demiroren News Agency  AFP  File  STRAndrew Brunson spent almost two years in jail after his initial detention in October 2016

Turkey has waged a two-year effort to have Gulen extradited from the United States.

Brunson risks up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two organisations Turkey deems to be terror groups: the Gulen movement and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made the announcement on Wednesday, calling Andrew Brunson's incarceration "unfair and unjust".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevut Cavusoglu claimed on Wednesday the extraordinary use of financial sanctions against Ankara, which is a U.S. allied government, would not be left without retaliation as it constitutes a "hostile stance".

The Trump administration has been pressuring Turkey for some time to release Brunson.

Mr Brunson is accused of aiding plotters of an attempted coup in 2016.

Gul and Soylu, she said, "played leading roles in the arrest and detention" of Brunson. All their property within United States jurisdiction has been blocked, and United States citizens are also "generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with the two Turkish officials.

Treasury accused the two of "implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses". Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thought they had a deal to get Brunson's release last month.

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Over the course of 18 months, President Donald Trump has shown he's willing to use American economic might in ways his predecessors were too cautious - or too prudent - to risk.

President Donald Trump warned last week that he might impose sanctions against Turkey, a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, for its treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson.

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

The US has maintained that there is no credible evidence to support the charges brought against Brunson.

"The US should not forget that unless it changes its attitude, it will lose a strong and honest partner like Turkey", he added. "President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action".

"Give him [Gulen] to us, and we will try [Brunson] and give him back", Erdogan said in September.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that the administration will continue its talks with Turkish officials even as the sanctions take effect.

Turkey's foreign ministry said it had shared "necessary information" with the USA, but insisted the case should be left with its judiciary. He's a man of profound Christian faith, who has ministered in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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