White House rejects Turkey's offer to release NC pastor

The White House has rejected Turkey's offer to release a North Carolina pastor in exchange for forgiveness of billions of dollars in U.S. fines on a Turkish bank.

A senior White House official told the Wall Street Journal nothing will be done until Andrew Brunson is released.

The Journal also reported the rejection could lead to additional sanctions against Turkey sometime this week.

Turkish media reported last week a Turkish court rejected an appeal for the release of a North Carolina pastor from detention.

Pastor Andrew Brunson's lawyer renewed an appeal for the clergyman's release from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted last Tuesday.

Hurriyet newspaper said the court in Izmir rejected the appeal, but that a higher court would review the appeal.

Brunson is at the center of a diplomatic spat between NATO allies Turkey and the United States, which has helped trigger a Turkish currency crisis. The United States slapped financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey over his continued detention. Turkey retaliated on Wednesday with tariffs on certain US goods.

[RELATED: North Carolina pastor on trial in Turkey for terror links, spying]

Brunson, 50, is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges, which he and the U.S. government vehemently deny.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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