Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The Turkish government refused to release Pastor Brunson after numerous conversations between President Trump and President [Tayyip] Erdogan, and my conversations with Foreign Minister [Mevlut] Cavusoglu. President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action."
Turkey’s embattled lira currency, which has already lost one-fifth of its value this year, slumped further against the dollar in early trading and hit a record low Thursday.
The Treasury Department sanctions target Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, whose departments were blamed by Sanders for Brunson’s arrest. Americans will be prohibited from doing business with them.
Gul shrugged off the decision, writing on Twitter that he had no assets outside Turkey.
However, Soylu issued an apparent threat against Pennsylvania-based exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt but who the U.S. has declined to extradite.
“We won't leave him there, we'll take him,” Soylu tweeted.
Erdogan has also warned that Turkey would seek international arbitration if the U.S. refuses to deliver F-35 fighter jets in retaliation for Brunson’s detention.