Sunday, 18 November, 2018

USA threatens more Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

A 100 Turkish lira banknote is seen on top of 50 Turkish lira banknotes in this A 100 Turkish lira banknote is seen on top of 50 Turkish lira banknotes in this
Rhonda Young | 17 August, 2018, 13:34

On Wednesday, the United States dismisses any move to remove steel tariffs which caused currency rout in the Turkey even in the circumstance if Ankara frees a USA pastor.

The White House has said that Turkey's tariff hikes on United States products in retaliation for sanctions against Ankara were "regrettable" and again called for the immediate release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The bail-out followed talks in Ankara between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Worldwide investors have been anxious by Turkey's high levels of foreign debt and Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

The Treasury Department earlier this month levied sanctions on two senior Turkish officials in retaliation for Brunson's continued detention.

The currency has rebounded strongly after hitting a record low of 7.24 at the start of the week, bolstered by central bank measures and Qatar's pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey.

"The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Many countries had been the target of similar U.S. trade measures, he said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

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Earlier this month The United States imposed sanctions on two top officials in Mr Erdogan's Cabinet in a new attempt to get North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey to turn over Branson, who is accused of backing a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.

She added that even if pastor Andrew Brunson was released, tariffs would remain in place on steel.

"Recent developments in the U.S. -Turkey relationship threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades", said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of global affairs, in a message to the U.S. Chamber's U.S. -Turkey Business Council.

The country's currency, the lira, has fallen sharply against the USA dollar in recent weeks but rebounded after the aid announcement.

"Rates have gone up by 10 per cent".

The lira firmed as far as 5.75 against the dollar on August 15 and stood at 6.1320 at 8:43 ET in a move initially triggered by the Turkish court decision on the Greek soldiers who faced espionage charges.

"They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira", he said.

"Turkey will emerge stronger from these [currency] fluctuations", Albayrak said in a conference call with thousands of foreign investors.

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Albayrak, a 40-year-old former company executive with a doctorate in finance, said Turkey would not hesitate to provide support to the banking sector.

Turkey invited the U.S.to a panel in the World Trade Organization (WTO) about doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Wednesday.

Commenting on the move, the U.S. leader said: "I have just authorised a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downwards against our very strong dollar".

China isn't the only country the USA has a rocky relationship with - Turkey is causing a few headaches for United States leaders as well.

Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, N.C., shown in Izmir, Turkey, on July 25.

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. He is scheduled to appear before a court in October for his third hearing after the court rejected an appeal for his release in a July 18 hearing.

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the currency. Turkey also maintains a small military base in Qatar.

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