Economy

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

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

However, Albayrak's attempt to shore up confidence in the lira was quickly undermined by the US Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who reportedly told president Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting that he was preparing further sanctions against Ankara.

The announcement follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call for a boycott of US electronics, including Apple's iPhones to counter Trump's actions to ramp up pressure on Turkey to release Brunson.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 has lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing control over the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

The lira rose 3%, also helped by measures aimed at deterring foreign investors speculating on the lira.

All the while, the lira has plummeted - even reaching a record low against the US dollar early Monday before managing modest rallies in the following days.

"The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interests".

"Qatar has pledged Dollars 15 billion of direct investments in Turkey", presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter yesterday.

Earlier on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said the USA side would consider lifting sanctions that have been placed on Turkey if Ankara released Brunson and other detained US citizens.

The White House called the Turkish counter-tariffs a step in the wrong direction and signaled a hard line.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are at an impasse regarding the detention of an American pastor, differing views on Syria, and Turkey's purchase of Russian military equipment.

When Mr Kilic sought to tie conditions to Mr Brunson's release, Mr Bolton waved them aside and said there would be no negotiations.

Erdoğan's claim that the United States is using "the economy as a weapon" is a response to sanctions imposed on high-ranking Turkish justice officials this month in response to the continued detention of Pastor Brunson.

Following the Qatar news, the lira firmed briefly to 5.8699 from 6.04 to the dollar, before easing back to 6.0500 by 1658 GMT.

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There was also optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial.

"If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung", he said during a speech in Ankara earlier this week.

"Rates have gone up by 10 percent".

In total, companies in Turkey have $217 billion in net foreign-exchange debt, equal to about a quarter of gross domestic product, according to central bank data. "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira".

Haydar Tastan, an Istanbul resident shopping for a cell phone, said a boycott of American goods could be a "great thing" but he wished there were alternatives.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured global investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signaling it could ride out a dispute with the United States.

Albayrak further said the country's banks have not been affected by the financial crisis and remain in a healthy and strong state, adding, however, that Turkey is prepared to stand by its public banks, if need be.

The Turkish government doubled its tariffs on imports of American cars and alcoholic beverages to 120 and 140 percent, respectively, CNN reported.

The United States was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey past year, accounting for $12-billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics. Turkey's exports to the United States a year ago amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

FILE - Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, is taken to his house in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018.

Mr Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal by Brunson's lawyer for his appeal to be released from house arrest.