Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions if it does not release USA pastor

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American pastor Andrew Brunson will be put under house arrest after spending two years in a Turkish jail.

In a statement the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: "Turkey is a sovereign state with a deep-rooted democratic tradition and political order which upholds the supremacy of law".

Indeed, Trump's words clearly suggest that placing Brunson under house arrest fell far short of appeasing the administration.

'Brunson is an innocent man, there is no credible evidence against him, ' Pence said. The commission recommended that if Turkey does not release Brunson, the Trump administration and Congress "should respond strongly and swiftly with targeted sanctions against the authorities responsible". He also is prohibited from leaving Turkey, where he has lived for 23 years and served as pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in Washington, D.C., hours earlier at a conference on religious freedom, made a similar threat of "significant sanctions" against Ankara over the imprisoned pastor.

However, President Trump demanded his immediate release, or Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, would face "large sanctions".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has described Washington's sanctions against Iran as inappropriate, saying Ankara has told United States officials that it will not abide by the bans.

US President Donald Trump decided in May to abandon the 2015 deal agreed with other world powers on Iran's nuclear programme and reimpose nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Brunson could receive an additional 20 years if he is found guilty of espionage.

"I find it hard to see how this relationship moves forward. if the Turkish government continues to detain Pastor Brunson as well as locally employed staff, journalists, and civil servants", Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said at the time. Shares of Halkbank, whose former deputy general manager was convicted in January of evading US sanctions on Iran, jumped 12 percent.

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ACLJ said Trump "has played a critical role in securing the freedom of Pastor Andrew".

Mr Pompeo, who is also an evangelical, hosted the summit - the first of its kind to be held at the state department. The Vice President also berated the governments of North Korea, China, Russia, Nicaragua, and Iran, over treatment of religious communities in their respective countries.

"In Burma, the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, a religious minority".

While the Kurds have proven themselves to be invaluable allies to the United States in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the US considers the PKK, a Kurdish independence movement inside Turkey, as a terrorist organization for its violent tactics.

Gulen, who denies orchestrating the coup attempt, lives in Pennsylvania.

This week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation that would impose financial penalties on Turkey until the government ends the detention of Brunson and other USA citizens.

At the end of a recent hearing, the court inside a prison complex in western Turkey rejected Brunson's lawyer's request that he be freed pending the outcome of the trial.

Turkey's case against Brunson has further strained its relationships with the US.