Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

United States says more sanctions await if Turkey does not free pastor

United States says more sanctions await if Turkey does not free pastor

On Aug. 1 relations between Ankara and Washington nosedived when the USA imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers after Turkey refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

"Those who think that they can make Turkey take a step back with ridiculous sanctions have never known this country or this nation", Erdogan said during his speech in Ankara.

The US present had harsh words for Turkish officials during the cabinet session, saying, "They have not proven to be a good friend".

US Vice President Mike Pence also renewed his threats to Turkey on Wednesday, warning that he and Trump would "stand firm" until Brunson is released.

The dispute over Brunson and other frictions between Washington and Ankara have been one reason the Turkish lira has plunged 40 percent this year.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 has weakened 35 percent against the dollar this year as the deterioration in ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies fuelled losses driven by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

Still, many investors remain on edge about the situation in Turkey and other emerging markets amid a strengthening US dollar and rising interest rates.

He also appeared to acknowledge that he was disappointed that Turkey did not release Brunson after the United States helped negotiate the release of a Turkish national being held in Israel.

Washington wants the evangelical Christian freed but Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts. "Not fair, not right", he added.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

China has spoken out in support of Turkey following the threat of additional USA sanctions.

When Mr Kilic sought to tie conditions to Mr Brunson's release, Mr Bolton waved them aside and said there would be no negotiations. Trump said on Twitter. China's Ministry of Commerce said it had received an invitation from the United States for talks to be held with U.S. Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass.

Ankara hit back with duties of up to 140% on alcohol, 120% on cars and a boycott of electronic products, including the iPhone.

The recent rebound in the Turkish currency came after Qatar announced a $15 billion support package and the country's banking regulator moved to limit the amount of the local currency banks can swap for foreign currencies with counterparts.

The lira rebounded some 8 per cent on Tuesday, helped by news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors.

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