Turkish minister mocks US sanctions against him

A Turkish minister has defiantly mocked U.S. sanctions against him, saying his only asset in the United States is a U.S.-based Muslim cleric whom Turkey blames for a failed coup and wants extradited.

The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on Turkey’s interior and justice ministers, aimed at pressuring its NATO ally into releasing a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. Turkey vowed to retaliate against the sanctions.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted on Thursday that Fethullah Gulen, the cleric whom Turkey accuses of masterminding the 2016 failed coup attempt, was his only property in the United States.

Soylu said: “We will not leave him there. We will take him.”

Washington said the two ministers were responsible for pastor Andrew Brunson’s arrest and detention.