Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends the last day of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, July 27, 2018. (Mike Hutchings/Pool Photo via AP)

Erdogan: Turkey will not back down due to US sanctions

July 29, 2018 - 5:23 am

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's president says country will not back down if the United States imposes sanctions in a diplomatic dispute involving an arrested American pastor.

Speaking privately to journalists late Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke his silence on the crisis: "They cannot make Turkey back down with sanctions."

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced possible sanctions against Turkey, a crucial NATO ally, in retaliation for the treatment of Andrew Craig Brunson, who was detained in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup against Turkey's government.

Brunson denies the charges.

Erdogan claimed that he "never used Brunson as a bargaining chip" — but he had previously linked Brunson's return to the U.S. extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara holds responsible for the failed coup. Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.

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