BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 A.M.) – US President Donald Trump vowed tariffs on Turkey “will happen very shortly” during a cabinet meeting in Thursday in Washington DC.
Trump asked at the meeting: “Turkey, they have not proven to be a good friend. They have a great Christian pastor there [Andrew Brunson], he is a very innocent man. I would like to know, unrelated to the pastor, I just think it is a terrible thing that they are holding him. We got somebody out for him, he needed help getting somebody out someplace. Unrelated to that, how are you doing with sanctions on Turkey? And as you know we doubled up the tariffs on steel and aluminum, aluminum will happen very shortly. How are you doing with sanctions please?”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin answered by saying that “As you know we were very clear with our counterparts there, both Secretary Pompeo and myself, on the release of the pastor. We’ve put sanctions on several other cabinet members. Working with you, we have more that we’re planning to do if they don’t release him quickly.”
The comment came amid the ongoing diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington over the arrest of Pastor Andrew Brunson. Trump announced the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Turkey, in protest over the detention of Brunson.
The pastor was arrested two years ago over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdish PKK party and to the Fetullah Gulen movement, which Turkey claims was behind the 2016 attempted coup under control,” it added in a statement on Twitter.