Turkey: Authority to Freeze Assets of 2 US Officials in Retaliation for Sanctions Due to Detention of US Pastor

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s president said Saturday the country will freeze the assets of two United States officials in retaliation for sanctions against Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the detention of an American pastor.

Speaking in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had been “patient” since the U.S. Treasury sanctions imposed Wednesday, but ordered authorities to “freeze the assets of America’s justice and interior ministers in Turkey if there are any.” It is unclear who that would affect, due to differing Cabinet roles in the United States than in Turkey, or if they have any holdings in Turkey.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul mocked the sanctions last week, saying they have no assets in the U.S, but the sign of deteriorating Turkish-American relations sent Turkey’s national currency —the lira— tumbling.