Turkey’s Erdogan Again Rebuffs US Threat of Sanctions
Turkey’s president again struck a defiant tone and said threatening language by the U.S. does not benefit anyone after the U.S. leaders showed unflinching intention to slap sanctions on Ankara for the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a new swipe at the U.S. leadership and slammed Washington for the discourse it employed against its ally, Turkey.
He said Turkey would not make any compromise regarding the independence of the judiciary.
“The evangelist, zionist mentality in the U.S.” is not acceptable, the president noted.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Erdogan said, would hold a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore where the top Turkish diplomat was attending ASEAN summit.
The latest diplomatic spat between Turkey and the U.S. precipitated by a Turkish court decision last week when Pastor Brunson, who had been imprisoned for 22 months over charges of espionage and terrorism, was released from jail and placed under house arrest.
What followed after was a rare display of mutual accusations and bellicose rhetoric employed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their Turkish counterparts.
Both Trump and Pence raised the prospect of sanctions against Turkey if Ankara fails to free the pastor who faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Most recently, Pence renewed the threat of sanctions on Monday, after Erdogan shrugged off the U.S. threat. Turkey, the Turkish president insisted, would not back down in the face of such threats.
The recent acrimony and mutual mistrust seem to prolong further as no sides show any effort to de-escalate the tension. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey is not without alternatives and would retaliate if the U.S. presses ahead with sanctions.