The United States calls for the release of an imprisoned American Protestant pastor. The man is accused of espionage and terrorism for alleged ties with the PKK and Fethullah Gülen. Donald Trump threatens sanctions. Erdogan wants in turn the extradition of Gülen.
Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US President Donald Trump is threatening Turkey with "serious sanctions" if the American Protestant pastor arrested on charges of espionage is not released soon.
On Twitter, Trump described the religious as a "formidable Christian and father of a family, that has suffered a lot. This innocent man must be released immediately ". Already a week ago he called Andrew Brunson's detention during the trial a "shame". The man has been in prison since October 2016.
The pastor faces 35 years in prison. The charge of terrorism and espionage for alleged ties with the PKK and the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who took refuge in the United States and accused by Ankara of orchestrating the failed coup d'état in 2016, hang over him.
Even US Vice President Mike Pence announces serious consequences: "If Turkey does not take immediate measures to free this innocent man and send him back to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions against Turkey until he is freed".
Turkeyhas set Gülen's extradition as a condition for Brunson's release. The head of Turkish diplomacy Mevlüt Cavusoglu declares that the US administration "must understand that it can not achieve results by threatening Turkey. Nobody can give orders to Turkey. We do not tolerate anyone's threats ".