President Donald Trump condemned the detention of an American pastor in Turkey and warned that “we are not going to take it sitting down.”
Trump, before leaving the White House on Friday, denounced Turkey as a “problem for a long time” and said it made up a “phony” spying charge against the Rev. Andrew Brunson.
Brunson was charged with terror offenses by a Turkish court and has been held since October 2016.
Trump said Turkey has “not acted like a friend.” He demanded Brunson’s release, saying “they can’t take our people.”
The Trump administration has threatened to levy more sanctions against Turkey, a move that has rattled the nation’s financial markets.
Turkey is calling for the U.S. to extradite a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused engineering a 2016 coup attempt.
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