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Under the sanctions to be imposed by the Treasury Department, any property, or interest in property, belonging to Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul or Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu within US jurisdiction would be blocked. The State Department has said they're being held as hostages for the goal of extracting concessions on other points of contention in the Turkey-U.S. relationship.

"We call on the USA administration to walk back from this wrong decision", a statement by the Turkish foreign ministry said, calling Washington's action a "hostile stance".

The Turkish currency dropped to an all-time low against the dollar following the announcement of the sanctions, trading at just over 5 lira against the dollar.

Gul, Turkey's justice minister, played down the direct effects of the sanctions.

"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. While negotiations for his release were ongoing, President Donald Trump promised "large sanctions" in a tweet Wednesday.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have spiraled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held for 21 months in a Turkish prison until his transfer to house arrest last week - a move Washington dismissed as insufficient.

The US pastor was first arrested in October 2016, when Turkey was in the immediate throes of a failed coup attempt crackdown.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Trump administration would sanction Turkey's minister of justice and minister of interior over the holding of 50-year-old Andrew Craig Brunson.

Relations between Turkey and the United States have been tense over multiple issues including American support for a Syrian Kurdish militia who Turkey claims are terrorists as well as the failure to extradite US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Mr. Brunson had been jailed for about 18 months on terrorism-related charges. The pastor has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.

"No one dictates Turkey". Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thought they had a deal to get Brunson's release last month.

Pompeo, en route to Singapore, said in Anchorage, Alaska, that the Turkish government refused to release Brunson "after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan and my conversations with Foreign Minister (Mevlut) Cavusoglu".

"Give him [Gulen] to us, and we will try [Brunson] and give him back", Erdogan said in September.


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