- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2018

A leading Turkish opposition party wants to make it personal in the increasingly nasty clash between Ankara and Washington, saying Turkey should retaliate for economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration by seizing the Trump Towers complex that are one of the most prominent features of the Istanbul skyline.

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “should seize the Trump Towers,” Aytun Ciray, general secretary of the Iyi (Good) Party, said to protest the White House announcement of sanctions on Turkey’s interior and justice ministers.

The two NATO allies have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s detention of a North Carolina-born Christian pastor on terror charges. Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for two decades, was swept up in a string of arrests in the wake of a failed military coup against Mr. Erdogan in 2016. Mr. Erdogan’s government also alleges the Mr. Brunson has ties to a Turkish preacher now living in exile in the U.S. whom Ankara accuses of fomenting the coup.

Mr. Brunson had denied all charges and his case has become a cause celebre for U.S. evangelicals and the Trump administration.

The Trump Organization, which the president owns but which is managed by his sons, does not own the Trump Towers, but has a license partnership with Turkish billionaire Aydin Dogan, who developed the site. Its two conjoined towers reportedly include more than 200 residential units, a shopping mall, upscale office space and a cinema.

The Erdogan government has vowed to retaliate against the U.S. sanctions, announced Wednesday, but has not revealed what they will be.

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