The White House has not specified what sanctions might be imposed on Turkey but members of the U.S. Congress, in two pieces of legislation pending approval, have condemned the detention of Brunson and other Americans.
And on Wednesday the Treasury Department laid blame for his ongoing trial primarily with Abdulhamit Gul, Turkey's justice minister, and Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. The sanctions effectively block any property or interest in property controlled by them in the US, and bar Americans from engaging in transactions with them.
A Turkish justice ministry spokesman did not immediately comment on the sanctions.
The decision comes days after Turkey's president said the country would not back down if the United States imposes sanctions in the mounting diplomatic dispute over the evangelical pastor from North Carolina.
"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong, and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust attention by the government of Turkey", Sanders said. The sanctions are modeled on those targeting the Russian government and oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, the people said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
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His supporters claim that he's a political prisoner being held as a bargaining chip by Turkey, which is seeking the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric blamed for a failed coup. "I don't have any assets or money in the USA nor in any other countries". He lived with his wife and three children while working as the pastor of the small Izmir Resurrection Church, which had a congregation of about two dozen.
"No one dictates to Turkey".
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted: "The U.S. attempt to impose sanctions will not remain without an answer".
Last month, Israel released Turkish tourist Ebru Ozkan who had been arrested for alleged ties to the Palestinian group Hamas - charges that she has denied.
To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: release Pastor Andrew Brunson now or be prepared to face the consequencesWhat happened next?
"Give him [Gulen] to us, and we will try [Brunson] and give him back", Erdogan said in September.