Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

US threatens more Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

US tariffs to remain even if pastor freed WH Turkey denies American pastor’s appeal, decides to hit the US with tariffs instead
Lindsey Cook | 17 August, 2018, 16:39

The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a USA pastor, as Qatar pledged $15 billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira.

Turkey's currency, which had recovered from record losses against the dollar earlier in the week, was down about 6 percent against the dollar on Friday, at 6.17. He later tweeted that the clergyman, who has been detained since 2016 when he was arrested in a government crackdown following a failed coup bid, was a "great patriot" being held "hostage".

"We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

On Wednesday, Turkey rejected pastor Andrew Craig Brunson's appeal to be released from custody, and slapped additional tariffs on USA imports.

A US dollar banknote is seen on top of 50 and 100 Turkish lira banknotes in this picture illustration in Istanbul, Turkey August 14, 2018.

"The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released as well as the fact that other USA citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released", Sanders said at a White House briefing Tuesday.

"As they are taking relations with Turkey to a breaking point for one pastor, we have yet to see either the Obama or the Trump administration take any concrete steps towards Turkey's rightful and urgent national security matters", Kalın claimed.

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Tensions between Turkey and the U.S. have been on the rise as Trump has pressed for the release of the pastor.

Erdogan signed a decree on August 15 that raises tariffs on American cars to 120 percent, on alcoholic drinks to 140 percent, and on leaf tobacco to 60 percent.

The lira has weakened 35 percent against the dollar this year as the deterioration in ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies fuelled losses driven by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

The threat comes as Turkey sought to reassure investors rattled by the sanctions-fueled crash of the Turkish lira, insisting the country would emerge stronger.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the United States of waging a targeted economic war on his country, and on Tuesday he proposed a boycott of USA electronic goods.

Beyond Turkey, concerns about China's technology sector, its currency, and trade relations between the USA and Beijing have been key drivers of global markets in recent sessions.

Turkey and Qatar have traditionally maintained good ties and Ankara stood by Doha after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar a year ago, accusing it of financing terrorism - a charge Doha denies. But she added: "Turkey's economic problems - those are a part of a long-term trend, something of its own making and not the result of any actions the United States has taken".

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