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Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson escorted by Turkish police officers as he arrives at his house on July 25, 2018 in Izmir. Photo: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

The White House announced Wednesday they have instructed the Treasury Department to implement sanctions against Turkey’s Minister of Justice and Minister of Interior for their roles in the arrest and detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The backstory: Brunson was detained after the 2016 failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has been released from prison but remains under house arrest, facing terrorism and espionage charges, which he vehemently denies. His detention is a further point of contention with Erdoğan — with whom Trump had personally been friendly despite his increasingly authoritarian behavior.

Sanders added that President Trump had spoken to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the matter explaining, "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."

Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly responded to the sanctions and called on the Trump administration to reverse their decision explaining they "strongly protest" the decision.

  • "There is no doubt that the decision, which disrespectfully intervenes with our judicial system, stands in contrast to the essence of our relations and will seriously damage the constructive efforts made in order to resolve problems between the two countries."

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

7 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 7 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."