Erdogan orders freezing of US Cabinet members’ assets

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Istanbul, Aug 4 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday announced retaliatory sanctions against members of the US government amid a diplomatic row over a jailed American pastor and said he ordered the freezing of assets of two US ministers, presumably the Attorney General and Homeland Security Secretary.

During a speech at the Congress for the ruling Justice and Development Party’s women’s organization in Ankara, Erdogan said that he was responding to the sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump’s administration over the case of Pastor Andew Brunson, imprisoned in Turkey on charges of terrorism since 2016.

“I have told my colleagues to start the process of freezing the assets of the American ‘Justice Minister’ and ‘Interior Minister’ if they have any,” Erdogan was cited as saying by Efe news.

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The equivalent to the Justice and Interior Ministers in the US Cabinet are Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, respectively.

“The US’ latest measure against Turkey is completely disrespectful,” Erdogan added.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it was imposing sanctions on Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu for their roles in Brunson’s imprisonment.

–IANS

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