Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan says US's threatening language will not benefit anyone

BERLIN GERMANY- JULY 15 Pro Erdogan Berlin Turks wave Turkish flags and one gives the hand sign of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization as they gather in front of the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed coup

Turkey has waged a two-year effort to have Gulen extradited from the United States.

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.

In a tweet translated by the state-run Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu also vowed that the "US attempt to impose sanctions on our two ministers will not go unanswered".

President Trump called Brunson an "innocent man of faith" who "should be released immediately", noting that the missionary pastor is "suffering greatly".

Relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were already strained by Washington's support for a Syrian Kurdish militia and the failure to extradite the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

The two officials targeted by sanctions "played leading roles in the organizations responsible for the arrest and detention" of Brunson, the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement. All their property within United States jurisdiction has been blocked, and United States citizens are also "generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with the two Turkish officials.

The U.S. sanctions were imposed under the auspices of the Magnitsky Act, originally a tool to punish Russian officials for serious human rights abuses but which is now being applied to human rights abusers worldwide.

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He said Erdogan overestimated the significance of his personal relationship with Trump, given growing impatience with Turkey in Congress, the State Department, and Pentagon.

Ankara had the right to seek arbitration if Washington blocks delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey, Kalin said.

"We join with our coalition partners - In Defense of Christians and the Hellenic American Leadership Council - in welcoming the Administration's launch of a sanctions regime against Turkey", said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. Pompeo and Cavusoglu spoke by phone about Brunson's detention earlier Wednesday and are expected to meet on the margins of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week in Singapore, she said.

Brunson's supporters maintain that the charges against him were fabricated.

Brunson was held for almost two years in prison on terror-related charges before he was moved last week to house arrest.

"It is unacceptable for the U.S.to use a threatening language against Turkey, using an ongoing court case as a pretext", spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

"President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action", Pompeo said in a statement. The pastor has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years.

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