Trump attacks Turkey, vows to pay 'nothing' for US pastor's release
US President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Turkey, saying Washington will pay "nothing" to Ankara for the release of a detained American pastor.
"Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years," Trump tweeted. "They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage."
The White House host added that "we will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"
Earlier in the day, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the United States would slap more sanctions on Turkey if the detained American pastor was not released.
Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old Christian pastor, was detained two years ago in Turkey on spying charges, and faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.
He was indicted on charges of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, which Turkey accuses of being behind a coup attempt in 2016 to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury slapped sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers on August 1, citing their roles in the detention of the US pastor.
Trump tweeted on Aug. 10 that he has authorized a doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports as their currency Lira slides rapidly downward against the US dollar.
"Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%," he said. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"