17:30 GMT +324 June 2019
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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, on July 15, 2018

    Erdogan Says Turkey to Freeze Assets of US Justice, Interior Ministers

    © AFP 2019 / ADEM ALTAN
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    Previously, the United States sanctioned Turkey's Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu for their roles in the arrest and detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson.

    Turkey's President Recep Tayip Erdogan ordered the country's authorities to freeze the Turkish assets of the US ministers of justice and interior in response to Washington's restrictive measures over the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson. He stated that steps taken by Washington about the American pastor are not suitable for a strategic partner and disrespectful to Turkey.

    "Today I will give our friends instructions to freeze the assets in Turkey of the American justice and interior ministers, if they have any [assets]," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

    On Wednesday, the United States announced that it was imposing sanctions on Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu for their leading roles in Brunson's imprisonment, as well as alleged human rights abuses committed by Turkish state agencies. The US sanctions will freeze the two ministers' assets abroad and prohibit US citizens from engaging in any transactions with them.

    READ MORE: Turkey Unlikely to Cave in to US Pressure Over Arrested Pastor — Researcher

    Turkish officials including Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak have criticized the US actions.

    Turkey jailed Brunson about two years ago for his alleged ties to the movement founded by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara has accused of orchestrating the 2016 failed military coup. The pastor was released from a Turkish prison last week and placed under house arrest.


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