Trump: We will pay Turkey nothing

Trump blasts Turkey as tensions continue over imprisonment of American pastor.

Elad Benari ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday night blasted Turkey and clarified that Washington will not pay Ankara anything for the release of jailed pastor Andrew Brunson.

“Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” he tweeted.

Relations between the United States and Turkey have soured over the case of Brunson, who has been jailed in Turkey for more than a year on terrorism charges and was recently sent to house arrest.

Trump imposed sanctions on several Turkish officials and a 20 percent duty on aluminum and a 50 percent duty on steel in response to the continued imprisonment of Brunson.

In response, Turkey imposed tariffs on certain imports from the United States.

Trump’s tweet came hours after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was ready to place economic sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was not released.

“We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release him quickly,” Mnuchin said during a Cabinet meeting.