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

White House says Turkish sanctions 'regrettable'

White House says Turkish sanctions 'regrettable'

"You haven't acted, so we will", is how Brownback described President Donald Trump's "decisive, aggressive action" against Turkey for holding a USA citizen illegally on unproven terrorism charges.

Following the announcement, the lira firmed briefly to 5.8699 from 6.04 to the US dollar, but later eased back to 6.0200 at 1538 GMT.

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal to release Andrew Brunson, a USA pastor at the centre of a dispute between Ankara and Washington. Turkey and Qatar - which is also a very close USA ally - have become close economic and political partners in recent times.

A day earlier, he said the U.S. was seeking to stab Turkey "in the back" by sending the lira into a tailspin.

The dispute has contributed to a steep fall in the Turkish lira this year, with the currency hitting record lows last Friday after US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish aluminium and steel.

Speaking as he left the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn: "They have a wonderful Christian pastor". He went on Twitter to describe the priest as a "great patriot" taken "hostage" by Turkey.

"We've already responded based on the World Trade Organisation rules and will continue to do so", Mr Pekcan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency. Also helping the currency were moves by Turkey this week to gain favor with European countries, including releasing two Greek soldiers and an Amnesty International human rights campaigner from prison. "They can't take our people".

Mr Erdogan is angry that the U.S. has not taken more action against the Gulenist movement and what he said was a failure "to unequivocally condemn" the 2016 coup attempt.

The currency lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over President Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

Brunson is being held on terrorism charges, which he denies.

Washington wants the evangelical Christian freed but Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts. "This is very easy to resolve", the administration official said. The lira lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year and suffered a staggering collapse on the heels of Trump's announcement of increased tariffs on metals.

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