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Why Trump Imposed Sanctions on a Key NATO Ally

02 August 2018

A Turkish court rejected an appeal on Tuesday for an American pastor to be released from house arrest during his trial on terrorism charges, his lawyer said, in a case which has raised the threat of USA sanctions against Ankara. The State Department has said they're being held as hostages for the goal of extracting concessions on other points of contention in the Turkey-U.S. relationship.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he would not be swayed by sanctions.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States. has grown exhausted of waiting for Turkish action on the matter.

But the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, also said Turkey expects the two countries to resolve their differences through diplomacy and that foreign ministers from each side were planning to hold talks, Reuters reported.

"Now is the time for Turkey to begin acting like the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that it claims to be and live up to its own constitution".

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.

One proposed bill would restrict loans from global financial institutions to Turkey until Ankara stops the "arbitrary arrest and detention" of USA citizens and consular staff. Language that calls for the release of Brunson and others has also been included in a defense authorization bill.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the two ministers had played leading roles in Brunson's arrest.

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Brunson was recently put under house arrest after 21 months in jail due to deteriorating health. "Suffice it to say I think these are totally appropriate measures to take in order to deal with the Turkish government's hostage taking", he said, "not only of Pastor Brunson but also other Americans and the USA government's local employees".

Pompeo said Trump had decided that sanctions were "the appropriate action".

At the same time, the company announced that the sale price will be determined according to the dollar, not the Turkish lira.

"We are still pursuing a diplomatic approach", Nauert said.

The sanctions are being prepared under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which allows the US government to target individuals, companies or other entities involved in corruption or human-rights abuses.

Faced with pressure from US officials past year, Erdogan suggested Brunson's release may depend on USA compliance with one of his own demands: the extradition of elderly Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has repeatedly accused of organizing the 2016 coup from his compound in Pennsylvania, despite Gulen's denials.

Trump's executive order was used this summer to sanction people in Nicaragua deemed responsible for human rights abuses and corruption.

Why Trump Imposed Sanctions on a Key NATO Ally