Turkish court rejects release appeal of American Pastor

Ivan Schwartz
August 18, 2018

The currency plunged to a record low of 7.24 per dollar at the start of the week as worsening relations between Turkey and the United States added to losses driven by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

The lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year as investors fret about President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

As Ankara sought to reassure markets after the lira went into a tailspin over the deepening spat, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned more sanctions would be on the way until Andrew Brunson was released.

In remarks at Thursday's Cabinet meeting, Trump voiced his disappointment with Turkey in personal terms, saying the country has "not proven to be a good friend".

He also urged Brunson to serve as a "great patriot hostage" while he is jailed and criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

"Do you think the lira will gain against the dollar if Brunson is released?" Turkey retaliated with tariffs on some US imports and said it would boycott USA electronic goods.

Turkey has sought to persuade the United States to spare Turkey's state-owned Halkbank from a threatened fine for allegedly helping Iran evade US sanctions.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak - who is Erdogan's son-in-law, said Turkey fully understood and recognised all of its domestic challenges, but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

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Qatar has promised to make a Dollars 15 billion direct investment in Turkey, badly hit by a currency crisis amid a widening diplomatic standoff with the United States, officials said.

Indeed, the stakes are high for Turkey, as the country's economic problems extend well beyond the current crisis with the U.S. The U.S. says the pastor is "a victim of unfair and unjust detention."

"Turkish-Qatari relations are based on solid foundations of true friendship and solidarity", he said.

One currency trader said on Friday's lira weakness was driven by "the new USA sanctions threat and the S&P decision, with position-closing in markets ahead of the public holiday".

However, analysts are calling for a sharp hike in interest rates - which Erdogan adamantly opposes because it will put a brake on economic growth.

In the Turkish courts, Brunson has been unsuccessful in arguing for his release, and on Friday had his latest appeal rejected, according to The Associated Press.

"He's in a terribly unsafe situation because the Brunsons are portrayed in the Turkish press as people who are against the state of Turkey", she told CBN News. He also accused foreign players of creating "currency plots".

Turkey and the U.S. have exchanged new threats of sanctions, keeping alive a diplomatic and financial crisis threatening the economic stability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country.

Other reports by GizPress

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