Nationalist opposition suggests Turkish gov’t seize Trump Towers in retaliation for US sanctions

Turkey’s nationalist opposition İYİ Party spokesperson Aytun Çıray has said the Turkish government should retaliate against recently imposed US sanctions on two Turkish ministers and “seize the assets of the US president and secretaries.”

“The Justice and Development Party [AKP] government should seize Trump Towers,” he said in a statement on Thursday, in reference to the Turkish franchise of Trump Towers located in a commercial district of İstanbul.

“The AKP should also halt an $11 billion passenger plane purchase from the US,” the statement said.

Condemning the US Treasury’s sanctions decision, Çıray said the İYİ Party regards it as “against the principle of an alliance.” He added that his party believes in the necessity of a transparent and lawful finalization of the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is standing trial in Turkey on terrorism and espionage charges.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called on the Turkish government to impose sanctions on two US Cabinet secretaries in retaliation for Washington’s sanctions. “The decision made by the US tarnishes the honor of the Turkish people. We know the person sheltering in Pennsylvania is the one behind July 15,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed on Thursday, referring to US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Accusing the government of using Brunson as a bargaining chip to be exchanged for Gülen, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that this resulted in the spat between the two countries. “In line with the reciprocity, we are expecting similar actions to be taken against US Cabinet secretaries,” he said.

Devlet Bahçeli, chairman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ultranationalist ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also called for retaliation against the US on Thursday.  “Those who bully Turkey should be put in their place,” Bahçeli told reporters in Ankara.

“Those who want their pastor back should give us a pastor,” he said referring to Gülen. Bahçeli said the US “stepped over the red line” with their recent move and that it ignored being an ally of Turkey for a pastor about whom there are many suspicions.

Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım has also termed the US decision to impose sanctions on two Turkish ministers as “unlawful and extremely arbitrary.”

“The sanctions decision taken by the US secretary of the treasury has targeted our Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and our Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, which is unlawful and extremely arbitrary,” Yıldırım said in a statement on Thursday.

“I strongly condemn this decision, which is an indicator of a disrespectful manner towards the judicial process in Turkey,” he added. Yıldırım called on the US administration to reverse its decision.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the US was imposing sanctions on Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior for not releasing American pastor Brunson. Sanders said the US would block any properties of the two ministers located in US jurisdiction.

In a statement published Wednesday, the US Treasury said Turkish ministers Gül and Soylu “played leading roles in the organizations responsible for the arrest and detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson.”

According to US law, individuals or companies mentioned on the sanctions list will have any assets and properties under US jurisdiction blocked, and American businesses and individuals will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with them.

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