Turkey 'will retaliate' over U.S. sanctions as crisis grows

US imposes sanctions on Turkey as Lira drops and Turkey threatens retaliation

US imposes sanctions on Turkey as Lira drops and Turkey threatens retaliation

Washington has imposed sanctions on two of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's ministers over the trial of Andrew Brunson, a US pastor accused of backing terrorism.

"I hope they'll see this for what it is, a demonstration that we're very serious", Pompeo said of the sanctions. "That's the message. We are going to work to see if we can find a way forward - I am hopeful".

"Secretary Pompeo is arriving in Kuala Lumpur with 2018 in mind", said a senior State Department official travelling with Mr Pompeo. "Pastor Brunson is an innocent pastor and they need to let him return to the United States, and they need to let our locally employed folks - everyone needs to be let out".

Mr Pompeo's visit will allow the U.S. "to strengthen its relationship with Malaysia, unencumbered by Najib's corruption", said Mr Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of South-east Asian Studies in Singapore.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Turkey on Friday for the release of a detained American pastor whose case has led the Trump administration to hit senior Turkish officials with sanctions and badly strained ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

A leading Turkish opposition party wants to make it personal in the increasingly nasty clash between Ankara and Washington, saying Turkey should retaliate for economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration by seizing the Trump Towers complex that are one of the most prominent features of the Istanbul skyline.

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Brunson, 50, was arrested in December 2016 following a failed coup on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and espionage.

He was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US -based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies the allegations.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday (Aug 3) with Malaysia's newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, trying to promote US-style development led by private-sector investment at a time when the government is reconsidering Chinese-financed projects favoured by the previous ruling coalition.

"If the US insists on making a mistake, its impact will be limited on Turkey and Turkish economy", he added. Also attending will be North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, leading to speculation that the two may hold a private bilateral meeting to discuss stalled negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Relations between the United States and Turkey have plummeted over Brunson, who was in custody for 21 months in a Turkish prison until he was transferred to house arrest last week.

Brunson's case has resonated with U.S. President Donald Trump and more particularly with Vice President Mike Pence, who has close ties to the evangelical Christian community.

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