USA threatens more Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

Ivan Schwartz
August 17, 2018

The economic and diplomatic disputes between the U.S and Turkey escalated on Wednesday as Turkey increased tariffs on US products.

"Turkey will emerge stronger from these (currency) fluctuations", said Albayrak, who is also Erdogan's son-in-law.

Last week, the U.S. doubled its tariffs on metal imports from Turkey.

An Istanbul court allowed the release of Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kilic Wednesday, who spent more than a year in jail over alleged links to the 2016 coup bid.

"They have not proven to be a good friend", Trump said of Turkey during the Cabinet meeting.

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

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's sovereign dollar bonds extended their gains.

The lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his refusal to raise interest rates despite high inflation.

"If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere".

"We can solve issues with the United States very easily, but not with the current approach", Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara late on Thursday.

The row has put vast pressure on Turkey's currency, the lira. It has so incensed Washington that the 2019 NDAA - a bill that sets out the USA military's budget for the coming year - blocked the delivery of brand-new F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

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The 2019 NDAA passed Congress with bipartisan support, although New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, voted against it. In the signing statement issued Monday, the president objected to four of the eight provisions related to Russian Federation .

At 0937 GMT the currency TRYTOM=D3 stood at 6.2499 to the dollar, almost 7 percent weaker. But his father-in-law's opposition to higher interest rates may complicate that quest.

"I am one hundred percent behind the boycott appeal", he said.

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

Angry Turks tore up fake dollar bills in protest.

Albayrak will also meet his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Berlin on September 21.

In the meantime, ordinary Turkish citizens continue to back the boycott. ARD TV reported the man was accused of "terrorist propaganda" after criticizing the government on social media.

The Turkish lira was slightly lower on Friday after the United States warned Ankara should expect more sanctions over the detention of an American evangelical pastor.

That case has increased speculation that the bank itself could be fined for sanctions-busting. "We are not expecting any fines on Halkbank for sure", he said. "He needed help getting somebody out of some place, he came out". If they side with Turkey, they run the risk of antagonizing US President Donald Trump.

Brunson is under house arrest after spending almost two years in a Turkish prison under what the Trump administration has said are bogus allegations of aiding terrorists.

Measures taken by Turkey's central bank also helped the lira rebound, such as cracking down on foreigners aiming to short the currency. Coal, fruit, rice, and other US products will also be hit by higher tariffs.

Other reports by GizPress

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