Turkish minister mocks US sanctions against him

In this July 25, 2018 photo, Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. Brunson, who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. The White House is announcing that the Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

ANKARA, Turkey — 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.

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