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Trump imposes sanctions over Turkey’s detaining of minister

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges. | AP Photo

WASHINGTON — The White House is announcing that the Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges.

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

The administration says Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu both played leading roles in the organizations responsible for Brunson’s arrest and detention.

Brunson, an evangelical pastor, was arrested in December 2016 and jailed. He was recently released to home detention.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government won’t back down and may “go its own way” if the U.S. imposes sanctions.