Ankara is vowing to retaliate after the U.S. imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers. The punishment was levied after Turkey refused to release a U.S. pastor charged with spying and terrorism.
Ankara said the sanctions are jeopardizing the long-standing ties between the two NATO allies.
CGTN’s Michal Bardavid has more.
Relations between the U.S. and Turkey are once again in crisis. On Wednesday the U.S. announced it was imposing financial sanctions on Turkey’s Justice and Interior Ministers under the Magnitsky Act of 2016, which allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign officials implicated in human rights abuses.
The trigger for the sanctions was Turkey’s refusal to release American pastor Andrew Brunson who was sent to prison in July 2016, and transferred to house arrest last week due to health reasons. Brunson is charged with having links to the organization founded by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is living in exile in the U.S. Ankara accused Gulen of being behind the failed coup of 2016.
Brunson denies any connection and Washington claims there is no evidence against him. U.S. President Donald Trump has called him an “innocent man of faith”.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is vowing to retaliate. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “We call on the U.S. administration to go back on this wrong decision. An equivalent response to this aggressive attitude will be given without delay.”
Four Turkish political parties also have issued a joint statement supporting the presidency, saying it had the right to give the necessary response to the U.S. based on the principle of international reciprocity. The two Turkish ministers both announced they had no properties or assets in the US. Analysts stress that trust between the two NATO allies has been broken.
“Turkish society and the government are clearly experiencing insecurity towards the US,” said political analyst Oguz Demir. “This was deepened during the visa crisis and the current crisis takes it even further downhill. Even though there is a way out, mending ties will take time. “
Following the news – the Turkish Lira also took a hit, reaching a record low against the U.S. dollar.
“From our experience during the Russia crisis, we know that raising interest rates, or increasing foreign currency in the market will not help the economy,” said Demir. “The only thing to do is to wait for the situation to cool down and wait for the effects to disappear following diplomatic efforts.”
In addition to the sanctions, the U.S. Senate has voted to delay the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey until a report is filed by the Pentagon. If President Trump approves the bill, it’s likely to rachet up tensions between Ankara and Washington even more.