Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

US threatens further Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

US pastor Andrew Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest in late July US pastor Andrew Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest in late July
| 17 August, 2018, 16:40

The United States said Thursday that it was prepared to levy more sanctions on the Turkish economy is Ankara does not release imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The talks come as the United States and Turkey, two major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, are engaged in a bitter diplomatic and trade dispute over the detention of an American pastor accused of terror related charges that has helped drive the Turkish currency to record lows last week before recovering some of its losses in recent days.

The dispute between Turkey and the United States was sparked by a row over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was jailed almost two years ago in the crackdown that followed a failed military coup. He later tweeted that the clergyman, who has been detained since 2016 when he was arrested in a government crackdown following a failed coup bid, was a "great patriot" being held "hostage".

"The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, while stopping short of announcing fresh retaliatory measures.

In response, Turkey raised tariffs on several US -made goods, including alcohol and tobacco products and vehicles.

The Turkish lira TRY= rose 2.7 percent to 5.80 per dollar.

"The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released as well as the fact that other US citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released", Sanders said at a White House briefing Tuesday. The U.S. and Turkey reportedly were talking about improving relations, even as the latter hit back against the former with tariffs of its own.


A court refused to release Mr Brunson, and the the government in Ankara increased tariffs on imports from the USA of cars, alcoholic drinks and leaf tobacco - and the lira recovered slightly.

Putting all the mathematics and statistics together, it concludes that there are 8.5 times more iPhone users worldwide than there are people in Turkey.

Referring to Brunson, Trump said: "He's a very innocent man".

Also worrying investors has been President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

"Recent developments in the U.S. -Turkey relationship threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades", said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs, in a message to the U.S. Chamber's U.S. -Turkey Business Council.

Some emerging market countries pared their holdings of US Treasuries in June, data from the US Treasury department showed on Wednesday, in what analysts viewed as a move to support their currencies as the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates this year.

"Turkey isn't in favor of an economic war", Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday, "but staying silent when attacked is out of question".

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