Turkey would stand its ground against US sanctions: Erdogan

Turkey would stand its ground against US sanctions: Erdogan
The remarks come after US President Donald Trump threatened 'large sanctions' unless Turkey releases jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.
2 min read
29 July, 2018
Erdogan speaks to AK party supporters during a rally [Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will stand its ground against US President Donald Trump's threat to slap sanctions unless it frees an American pastor jailed in the country.

Erdogan told TRT Haber that the US would lose a strong partner if it does not alter its stance.

Andrew Brunson, the US pastor, is accused of supporting the Gulen movement that Erdogan blames for the failed July 2016 military coup.

Brunson, who was moved from jail to house arrest this week, has lived and worked in Turkey for over 20 years. He ran a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir when he was detained in October 2016. 

The US pastor, who is married to a Turkish citizen, denies supporting the Gulen movement and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an outlawed group he is also accused of backing. If found guilty, he faces up to 35 years in jail. 

On Thursday, President Trump demanded Turkey free Brunson, warning the US was ready to impose "large sanctions" against its NATO ally.

The Trump administration - which is broadly supported by powerful US evangelicals - has made defending Christians abroad a tenet of its foreign policy.

Brunson is one of tens of thousands of people detained on similar charges during the state of emergency declared by Erdogan in the wake of the 2016 failed coup bid. The measure ended on 18 July.

Meanwhile, Erdogan also said on Sunday that Turkey will resort to international arbitration if the US blocks the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the country.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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