Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Turkey court rejects release of United States pastor

Turkey court rejects release of United States pastor

Only hours after a Turkish court rejected an appeal on Friday for the release of a US pastor from house arrest, President Donald Trump said Ankara had acted "very, very badly" in the case and the United States was "not going to take it sitting down".

Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, N.C., shown in Izmir, Turkey, on July 25. His case now lies at the heart of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States that has prompted a crash of Turkey's lira currency.

The currency has lost almost 40 per cent of its value against the dollar this year, hit by Ankara's worsening rift with Washington and investor alarm about President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

The lira, which has fallen by about 17.5 per cent this month, had risen more than 1 per cent yesterday but then slipped back to 5.85 to the dollar after Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, said...

Trump prefaced Mnuchin's remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend to America. "They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage", he wrote.

Brunson was charged with terror offenses by a Turkish court and has been held since October 2016.

Doha has pledged to offer loans worth 15 billion USA dollars to help Ankara ride out its lira crisis.

Turkey responded by increasing tariffs on imports from the U.S. including cars, alcoholic drinks and leaf tobacco - and the lira recovered slightly. Turkey retaliated with tariffs on some USA imports and said it would boycott US electronic goods.

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On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, "Turkey would do well not to test [President Trump's] resolve to see Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned in foreign lands returned home to the United States".

Qatar pledged $15 billion of investment in Turkey on Wednesday that a government source in Ankara said would be channeled into its banks and financial markets.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, had issued a blunt warning to Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic when he met him on Monday at the White House, an administration official said on Thursday.

Qatar has promised to make a Dollars 15 billion direct investment in Turkey, badly hit by a currency crisis amid a widening diplomatic standoff with the United States, officials said.

Ratings agency Fitch said the absence of an orthodox monetary policy response to the lira's fall, and the rhetoric of Turkish authorities have "increased the difficulty of restoring economic stability and sustainability".

US and Turkey relations have been souring, after President Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum in response to his continued imprisonment.

And the day earlier, two Greek soldiers held by Turkey since March for illegally crossing the border were also freed.

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said France and Germany are standing with Turkey in the rift with the US.

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