Turkey court rejects new appeal to free detained U.S. pastor

16 August, 2018, 08:42 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • President Erdogan said Turks should boycott American electronic goods such as mobile phones

President Donald Trump had previously announced that the U.S. was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies row over the detention by Turkish authorities of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The announcement on Wednesday came after the emir held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

In return, Erdogan signed a decree to also raise tariffs on some US imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco, an official report said Wednesday. The Trump regime imposed financial sanctions on Friday against two Turkish government officials and doubled steel tariffs to 50 per cent and aluminium tariffs to 20 per cent in retaliation for the pastor's detention.

The hikes were published in Turkey´s Official Gazette in a decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly described the crisis as an "economic war" that Turkey will win. The currency's climb followed retaliatory tariffs by Ankara against USA goods including rice, coal and cars.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the USA administration".

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

Mr Erdogan responded on Tuesday by announcing that his country will boycott US-made electronic goods such as iPhones and will buy Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel instead.

The Turkish lira has dropped to record lows in recent weeks, having fallen some 42 per cent this year.

The White House stance appeared to give Turkish authorities little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges and whose case Turkish officials have always said was a matter for the courts.

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The court in the western city of Izmir rejected the appeal and ruled that Brunson will remain under house arrest, the state television TRT reported.

Investors are anxious that about Erdogan's control over the central bank and his pressure to keep it from raising interest rates.

On Monday, National Security Council Advisor, John Bolton, met with Turkey's ambassador to Washington, Serdar Kilic.

The lira had already rebounded about 8 percent on Tuesday on news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors. Turkey's exports to the United States, its fifth-largest export market, were US$8.7 billion.

Sanders said Brunson's release would not lead to an easing in the tariffs, but that it could lead to an easing in sanctions.

Turkey's currency value has tanked since the U.S. sanctions were declared.

The lira firmed as far as 5.75 against the dollar on Wednesday and stood at 5.9350 at 0745 GMT in a move initially triggered by a Turkish court decision to release two Greek soldiers facing espionage charges.

Erdoğan and Trump are locked in a dispute about the USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested nearly two years ago and accused of plotting against the Turkish government. Erdogan's office said the pledge was made by Qatar's head, Al Thani.

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