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In the wake of Turkey imposing surtax on 22 US based products, US Vice President Mike Pence and White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders have made statements.
While Pence states that Turkey is not to test the patience of US President Donald Trump, Sanders said that tariff imposed on Turkish products will not be lifted even if Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson is freed.
Pence said on Twitter:
“Pastor Andrew Branson — an innocent man held in Turkey, and spravdlivost requires that he be released. Turkey is not to test the patience of trump, who intends to ensure that the innocent prisoners in prisons abroad, the Americans will return to the United States.
“I continue to stand firm until Pastor Brunson is released and returned to his family, friends, and church in the USA. Every American should continue to pray for Pastor Andrew Brunson & his wife Noreen until this godly man of faith is home”.
In the press briefing, Sanders described Turkey’s decision of surtax as a “step in the wrong direction” and said that the reason for US doubling tariffs on products imported from Turkey is “national security”:
“The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction. The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interests. Theirs are out of retaliation.
“I’m not going to get ahead of anything on what we may or may not do in an effort to respond, but certainly we don’t support Turkey’s decision to retaliate against us protecting our national security interests”.
Responding to a question on whether tariffs would be removed if Brunson is released, Sanders said, “The tariffs that are in place on steel would not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson. The tariffs are specific to national security. The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to Pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly. And we would consider that at that point”. (EKN/TK)