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Turkey Imposes Tit-For-Tat Sanctions On U.S. Officials


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will impose personal sanctions against two U.S. officials in response to a similar move earlier by Washington.

Speaking in Ankara on August 4, Erdogan stressed that Turkey had been "patient" since the U.S. sanctioned Turkey's justice and interior ministers on August 1 but proceeded to order his government to "freeze the assets of America's justice and interior ministers in Turkey, if there are any."

It was not immediately clear which U.S. officials would be affected by the order or whether they have any assets in Turkey.

Washington imposed the sanctions to put pressure on Ankara to release jailed U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being tried in Turkey on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member." He could face up to 35 years in prison.

Erdogan also called for a return to amicable relations between the two countries.

"We think there is no problem we cannot solve with the American administration," he said. He called on the administration of President Donald Trump to back down from its "hot-tempered attitude and return to its good senses."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue on August 3 in Singapore with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"I am very hopeful that we will make progress on [Brunson's release] in the days and weeks ahead," Pompeo told journalists after that meeting.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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