Turkey demands U.S. reverse sanctions over pastor Andrew Brunson

Aug. 2 (UPI) — Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Thursday called for the immediate reversal of new U.S. sanctions imposed over the treatment of detained American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The sanctions, announced Wednesday, allow the U.S. government to target individuals and companies involved in corruption or human-rights abuses, which in this case include Turkey’s justice and interior ministers.

Davutoğlu said the U.S. decision is a risky move and “incompatible with the most simple diplomatic courtesy and mutual respect.”

The former prime minister’s position echoes that of the Turkish government.

“The decision, which disrespectfully intervenes in our judicial system, will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries,” Ankara’s foreign ministry said.

Also caught in the spat is a plan for the United States military to deliver new F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. Both countries are NATO allies, a plan that could be used as leverage in the dispute.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will seek international arbitration if the Trump administration fails to deliver the fighter jets.

Brunson, a North Carolina pastor who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, is accused of helping the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization in a failed military coup in 2016 and the PKK organization, a group related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Brunson, who was put under house arrest last month, faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if convicted.

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