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Pence escalates Trump-Erdogan rift with tweeted threats

The US-Turkey brawl over American pastor Andrew Brunson is as intense as ever, as the Turkish president and US leaders exchange public threats and messages of defiance.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 12: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit, which is being overshadowed by strong demands by U.S. President Trump for most NATO member countries to spend more on defense. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

The drama over a North Carolina pastor detained in Turkey showed no signs of abating as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to not bow before the threat of US sanctions over the affair. With both sides refusing to de-escalate, salvaging battered relations between the two NATO allies will be harder than ever.

“You cannot force Turkey to cave to sanctions,” Erdogan told reporters in Zambia before heading home, warning, “If the [United States] does not change this attitude, they should not forget they will lose a sincere and strong partner like Turkey.” Erdogan added Turkey had “other alternatives” and noted that Iran had not collapsed when it was slapped with US sanctions.

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