Sanctioned Turkish Minister Mocks U.S. With Remarks on Exiled Cleric

The U.S. recently imposed sanctioned against Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu following the previous arrest and detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, July 15, 2018.
\ Umit Bektas/ REUTERS

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, one of two top government officials hit by U.S. sanctions, mocked Washington in comments made Thursday on Twitter.

"We have a property in America: FETO," Soylu wrote, referring to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who lives in exile in the U.S., and whom Ankara blames for a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

"We will not leave it there. We will get it," Soylu wrote.

The U.S. imposed sanctions Wednesday on Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul under the Global Magnitsky Act, which is used to punish authorities or entities anywhere in the world for human rights abuses and corruption.

It said the two ministers played "leading roles in the arrest and detention" of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.

Suleyman Soylu, Turkey's Interior Minister at the Presidential Palace, in Ankara, July 9, 2018.
Burhan Ozbilici/AP

The sanctions mean that all properties belonging to the two are blocked in the U.S., and U.S. individuals are prohibited from doing business with them.

"I do not have a stick or a single penny either in the U.S. or any other country outside Turkey," Gul said Wednesday. "Maybe I will buy a small olive grove in my hometown Gaziantep one day."

Brunson was arrested in the aftermath of the failed coup and is accused of links to Gulen's movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously suggested that Brunson could be traded for Gulen. Washington says there is not enough evidence to extradite him.