- The U.S. warned Turkey to expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, as relations between the two countries took a further turn for the worse.
- President Donald Trump said the U.S. “will pay nothing” to Turkey for the release of Brunson.
“We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” Trump said on Twitter.
The U.S. warned Turkey on Thursday to expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over Brunson, as relations between the two countries took a further turn for the worse.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured Trump at a Cabinet meeting that sanctions were ready to be put in place if Brunson was not freed.
“We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release him quickly,” Mnuchin said during the meeting.
The United States and Turkey have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs in an escalating attempt by Trump to induce Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan into giving up Brunson, who denies charges that he was involved in a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.
“They have not proven to be a good friend,” Trump said of Turkey during the Cabinet meeting. “They have a great Christian pastor there. He’s an innocent man.”
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, had issued a blunt warning to Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic when he met him on Monday at the White House, an administration official said on Thursday.
When Kilic sought to tie conditions to Brunson’s release, Bolton waved them aside and said there would be no negotiations.
“Release Brunson,” Bolton told him, according to the official, who declined to be named. MORE https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/17/trump-us-will-not-pay-turkey-for-release-of-detained-american-pastor-brunson.html