Turkish officials brush off US sanctions in dismissive tweets

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Murat Kula / Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül brushed off a US decision to impose economic sanctions on them over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson via Twitter.

“We have property in America: FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to Gülen and his movement]. We will not leave him there. We will take him,” Soylu tweeted on Thursday.

The government accuses Gülen and his movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in July 2016, an allegation they strongly deny.

Justice Minister Gül on Wednesday also tweeted about the decision: “I’ve never had any dream but to live and die in my country. I don’t have any property or even a single cent in any other country.”

The US decision to impose sanctions came days after Turkey refused to fully release American Pastor Brunson, who was last week moved by a Turkish court from pretrial detention, in which he has been held since October 2016, to house arrest in İzmir but barred him from leaving the premises or the country.

Following the court ruling US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on Turkey if Brunson were not freed.

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