US Threatens Turkey With More Sanctions if Pastor Isn't Freed

Turkish lira

Turkish lira

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have been steadily rising since American pastor Andrew Brunson was detained by Turkish officials on charges of terrorism and espionage.

The plight of the American pastor, Andrew Brunson, has dominated the Trump administration's strategy toward its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, even as the dispute roiled currency markets.

The US doubled tariffs last week over Turkey's refusal to free a US pastor who is imprisoned there.

Qatar said it would provide "a host of economic projects, investments and deposits" worth $15 billion to support Turkey's economy.

The minister ruled out any move to limit money flows - which is a possibility that worries investors - or any assistance from the International Monetary Fund, NTV said.

Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the rift with the United States is as wide as ever.

"Turkey will emerge stronger from these (currency) fluctuations", Albayrak was quoted by state-run TRT television as saying during the conference call.

Earlier in the day, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would boycott electronic goods from the United States - suggesting people can use Samsung or Turkish Vestel devices instead of iPhones.

Trump's doubling of tariffs on Turkish metals last week prompted Ankara, which says it will not bow to threats, to raise tariffs on U.S. cars, and tobacco by the same amount on Wednesday.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, has pledged to invest $15bn in Turkey, according to officials.

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Turkey, he said, has no plans to seek help from the International Monetary Fund or impose capital controls to stop money flowing overseas in response to the recent collapse of its lira currency. Bar owner Burhan Coban said consumer and distributor prices for American whiskey are the same, for now, despite the currency plunges and the new Turkish tariffs.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Turkey's ministers of Justice and Interior in response to Brunson's detention.

While Erdogan can buy time, it's not clear how the stand-off with the US can be resolved so long as Turkey continues to detain the pastor.

President Donald Trump had previously announced that the United States was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies row over the detention by Turkish authorities of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

On Wednesday, Turkey announced tariff hikes on a range of US goods, including imports of vehicles, alcohol, coal, rice and cosmetics. "If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere".

Sanders lamented that Turkey had treated Brunson, "who we know to be a very good person and a strong Christian who has done nothing wrong, very unfairly, very badly".

Turkey has been rocked in recent days by a sharp decline in the value of its lira after US President Donald Trump tweeted last Friday that Washington was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Ankara.

In the wake of the currency crisis, the Turkish president has held talks with French and German leaders, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, on ways to promote bilateral ties.

Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott United States electronic goods like iPhones, even though he has himself been photographed repeatedly using the product himself.

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