President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to slap “large sanctions” on Turkey unless it freed an American pastor, prompting an immediate and angry response from Ankara and further escalating tensions between the two NATO allies.

A spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Washington’s threats were unacceptable and damaging to the U.S.-Turkey alliance.

“The United States must reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said in a written statement.

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