Turkish lira resumes fall after Trump sanctions threat

18 August, 2018, 01:18 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Turkish lira firms before minister's presentation

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal to release American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest, broadcaster Haberturk said on Friday.

Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, is being held on charges related to terrorism.

The lira, which has lost some 40 percent of its value this year, weakened beyond 6.21 against the USA dollar after the news, from 6.04 beforehand.

Turkey's currency recovered slightly after the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released various high-profile prisoners; this, after the lira plummeted to a new low last week when U.S. President Donald Trump increased tariffs on the import of Turkish aluminum and steel.

As Ankara sought to reassure markets after the lira went into a tailspin over the deepening spat, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned more sanctions would be on the way until Andrew Brunson was released.

"We have more that we're planning to do if they don't release him quickly", Mnuchin told a cabinet meeting, without elaborating on what would be involved.

"They are now holding our wonderful Christian pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage".

The currency strengthened by over three percent against the dollar on Thursday before Turkey's finance minister was set to hold a conference call with investors.

In an intensifying cycle of tensions with the United States, Erdogan has called for a boycott of USA electronic goods such as iPhones and Ankara has sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. products.

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Sanders said Brunson's release would not lead to an easing in the tariffs, but that it could lead to an easing in sanctions. Turkey took the action in response to what it called the Trump's administration's attack on its economy.

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The United States and Turkey have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs in an escalating attempt by Trump to induce Erdogan into giving up the pastor.

USA authorities have rebuffed efforts by Turkey for the extradition of Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

"Turkish-Qatari relations are based on solid foundations of true friendship and solidarity", he said. "Similarly, there has been no improvement in relations with the US and additional sanctions may be on the horizon".

The problem with the new strategy is that it aims directly towards Apple which remains unaffected as Turkey relies on Apple and not the other way around, according toMashable.

Last month, at Brunson's third court hearing in almost two years, USA officials thought they had brokered a deal to free him by pressuring Israel to release a Turkish citizen imprisoned there.

President Trump tweeted on Friday (August 17) that the USA "will pay nothing" for Andrew Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!" Since the U.S. has large numbers of troops positioned in Qatar and Turkey, it's not clear they could afford to alienate both by escalating the diplomatic conflict too far.

Investors are concerned that Turkey has amassed high levels of foreign debt to fuel growth in recent years.

Supporters of Brunson, who ran a small church in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, say allegations that he was linked to Kurdish rebels as well as Turkish cleric and alleged coup plotter Fethullah Gulen are absurd.

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