Turkish court rejects appeal for Pastor Andrew Brunson's release

Turkish court rejects appeal for Pastor Andrew Brunson's release

Turkish court rejects appeal for Pastor Andrew Brunson's release

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said during a cabinet meeting Thursday that the U.S.is prepared to levy more economic sanctions against Turkey if Brunson is not released.

"We have responded to the measures the United States has taken, and will continue to do so based on our worldwide trade law rights and in accordance to World Trade Organization rules", said the minister, Ruhsar Pekcan.

The Committee of Concerned Scientists has compared the Brunson case to that of Serkan Golge, a NASA scientist who was arrested at the time of the coup attempt and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for alleged links to Gulen's group.

Many countries have been the target of similar USA trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

During the meeting, Trump remarked that Turkey has "not proven to be a good friend".

The fate of Andrew Brunson, charged with terror offenses by a Turkish court, also overshadows the predicament of a Turkish-American scientist from NASA and several Turkish workers for the USA diplomatic mission who were arrested in Turkey.

Brunson, who attended Wheaton College, has lived in Turkey for more than two decades as pastor of a small local church.

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"I call out to those in the United States".

Referring to Brunson, Trump said: "They have a great Christian pastor there, he's a very innocent man". "They have a great Christian pastor there".

Trump said the United States had helped Turkey in a related incident, but that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally had not repaid the favour. "He's an innocent man".

Mr 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.

Turkey, in turn, criticized the prosecution in the USA of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a top official at Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank who was convicted of helping Iran avoid US sanctions. Mr Gulen denies the allegations. "This is very easy to resolve", the administration official said. "They can't take our people". The dispute over Brunson and other frictions between Washington and Ankara have been one reason the Turkish lira has plunged 40 per cent this year.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak - who is Erdogan's son-in-law, said Turkey fully understood and recognised all of its domestic challenges, but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

The detained pastor has found himself in the middle of a diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara, which greatly escalated last week with Trump placing new tariffs on steel an aluminum imports - a move which has put significant pressure on Turkey.

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