U.S. listed his name alongside rapists, says Turkish Interior Minister

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Monday said the United States put his name on a list that included the names of "rapists", citing 2018 U.S. sanctions under Global Magnitsky Act over the arrest of an American pastor in Turkey, opposition daily Cumhuriyet reported.

"It (Washington) put me on the same website alongside with rapists. This happened because we didn't care about the United States while we were defending the interests of our country, our nation," Soylu said in a meeting with the newly elected mukhtars of Beykoz, on the Asian side of Istanbul, according to Cumhuriyet. "We are challenging the United States."

Soylu was likely referring to 2018 U.S. sanctions against several Turkish ministers over the case of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who was jailed in Turkey on alleged terrorism charges as part of the purges that followed the failed 2016 coup.

The U.S. Treasury Department in August 2018 decided to impose sanctions against Turkey's justice and interior ministers over the Brunson case under the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the United States to sanction human rights violators and corrupt actors in any country.

In addition, the introduction of additional duties on imports of Turkish steel and aluminium led to a fall in the value of the Turkish lira. But the sanctions were lifted following the pastor's release in October 2018, and warming began in bilateral relations.

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