Turkish Lira skids past 5 to the dollar on USA sanctions news

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The move to house arrest of Brunson, who led a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir, inflamed rather than defused tensions, with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence warning Turkey it faced sanctions. "We will get it", Soylu wrote on his official Twitter account.

Ankara on Wednesday threatened to retaliate after Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers over the case of an American pastor as it warned the actions could damage ties.

Andrew 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 on charges of espionage and supporting terror groups.

"These officials serve as leaders of Turkish government organisations responsible for implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses", the US Treasury Department said in a statement Wednesday.

"We call on the U.S. administration to turn back from this wrong decision".

He is charged with supporting the group Ankara blames for orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty of the charges, which he denies.

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White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters: "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".

He is accused of acting on behalf of two groups deemed by Turkey to be terrorist organisations - the movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind the 2016 coup bid and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

His next trial hearing is due on October 12. Vice President Mike Pence urged Turkey to release Brunson or face consequences.

On Wednesday, Erdogan accused the United States of having an "evangelist, Zionist mentality" and using "threat-filled language".

Relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were already strained by Washington's support for a Syrian Kurdish militia and the failure to extradite the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

The imposition of sanctions on the two ministers is sure to fuel the fire.

Anticipation of the USA sanctions had already helped to send the Turkish lira to an all-time low against the dollar on Wednesday.

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