Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

United States says ready with more sanctions if Turkey does not free pastor

United States says ready with more sanctions if Turkey does not free pastor

The White House said on Wednesday that it would not remove steel tariffs on Turkey, appearing to give Ankara little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

"For months, the U.S. Chamber has warned that alienating our allies in a tit-for-tat trade war would harm the U.S. economy and undermine American global leadership, and evidence of that harm to U.S. workers, farmers, and businesses is mounting".

Qatar defied US President Donald Trump on Wednesday and promised to plough $15 billion into Turkish financial markets and banks.

The lira lost strength after Mr Mnuchin's remarks.

Turkey's currency which dived to record lows last week recovered some of its losses in recent days.

A decree by Erdogan doubled Turkish tariffs on imports of United States passenger cars to 120 per cent, alcoholic drinks to 140 per cent and leaf tobacco to 60 per cent. Tariffs were also doubled on goods such as cosmetics, rice and coal.

Ankara's first batch of tariffs hit $1.8 billion in us products.

Trump has called Brunson's detention a "total disgrace".

"If the traitor in Pennsylvania is extradited to our country, the handover of the pastor may be in the offing, and both countries will get what they want", Devlet Bahceli, leader of a far-right political party allied with Erdogan, said Wednesday in Ankara, according to the Anadolu news agency.

The US has threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Turkey if it does not free a detained American pastor. Gulen has denied the charges, and the US has rejected every request to force him from his compound in Pennsylvania to stand trial in Turkey.

Brunson was arrested in October 2016 and moved to house arrest in July.

Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. The currency picked up 6 percent and strengthened briefly at just under 6 to the dollar.

"And he seemed to downplay the risks in the corporate and banking sector posed by large foreign currency debts".

"There is still a great deal of difference between agreeing to talk and coming to an agreement", said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"Rates have gone up by 10 percent". "If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere".

The lira, still down 34% against the dollar this year, firmed to 5.7700 by 12pm Irish time from a close of 5.95.

The finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors on Thursday in a conference call for which a ministry official said some far 3,000 people had signed up.

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

There was no resolution to the Brunson case in sight. If the Turkish government does not eventually agree to USA demands and release him early, Brunson could spend 35 years in prison. A higher court is still to rule, his lawyer told Reuters. His transfer to house arrest came after Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assist in Brunson's release, Israeli and United States officials told CNN at the time.

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