The comments come after President TrumpDonald John TrumpClinton maxes out to 19 Democratic House candidates Tucker Carlson slams immigrant lawyer as "citizen of country controlled by conquistadors" Trump highlights praise from judge on reuniting families his administration divided MORE last week threatened "large sanctions" against Turkey over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor who has been imprisoned in the country on charges of espionage and terrorism.
And on Wednesday the Treasury Department laid blame for his ongoing trial primarily with Abdulhamit Gul, Turkey's justice minister, and Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
Erdogan has also warned that Turkey would seek global arbitration if the United States refused to deliver F-35 fighter jets in retaliation.
One proposed bill would restrict loans from worldwide financial institutions to Turkey until Ankara stops the "arbitrary arrest and detention" of USA citizens and consular staff. Language that calls for the release of Brunson and others has also been included in a defense authorization bill. The penalties announced Wednesday, which aim to punish the chiefs of Turkey's ministries of justice and the interior, mark a significant escalation in the recent frictions between the two key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his American counterpart of waging "psychological warfare" against Turkey over the pastor and warned that the United States may lose "a strong and honest ally" in Turkey. Relations between the United States and Turkey have plummeted over Brunson, who was in custody for 21 months in a Turkish prison until he was transferred to house arrest last week.
"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the government of Turkey", she emphasized.
Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, was placed under house arrest last week after almost two years in jail. Turkey's Foreign Ministry was expected to release a statement later Wednesday.
US pastor Andrew Brunson reacts as he arrives at his home after being released from the prison in Izmir, Turkey July 25, 2018. He lived with his wife and three children while working as the pastor of the small Izmir Resurrection Church, which had a congregation of about two dozen. Americans would generally be prohibited from doing business with them.
"The Turkish government refused to release Pastor Brunson after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan, and my conversations with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu".
Erdogan has denied speculation that there had been an agreement to swap Brunson for Turkish citizens being held overseas, particularly 27-year-old Ebru Ozkan.
"We are going to request his house arrest be lifted every month", he told Reuters.
Ankara accuses Gulen of organising the July 2016 failed coup, claims which he denies.