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The Trump administration on Wednesday sanctioned top Turkish officials over the country’s detention of American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson.
The Treasury Department sanctions, first announced by the White House, target Turkey’s minister of justice and minister of interior over the holding of the 50-year-old pastor.
“Pastor Brunson’s unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately.”
The administration said the two sanctioned officials — Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu — both played leading roles in the organizations responsible for Brunson’s arrest and detention. The sanctions effectively block any property or interest in property controlled by them in the U.S., and bar Americans from engaging in transactions with them.