Turkey refuses to release pastor despite threat of USA sanctions

Saturday, 18 Aug, 2018

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said additional USA sanctions are ready if Turkey refuses to release an American pastor whom the Trump administration says is illegally detained.

The Turkish government has also complained about what it calls USA support for Kurdish rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, and it has condemned the us refusal to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey has accused of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt.

Dashing hopes for a quick solution to the dispute, a Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal for the evangelical pastor's release from house detention. It also rejected an appeal for his travel ban to be lifted, Anadolu reported.

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.

Whatever action the United States does take, economists said it looked likely to cause more pain for Turkish assets in the immediate future.

Turkey and the US are now experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers for not releasing Brunson. Turkey retaliated with tariffs on some US imports and said it would boycott USA electronic goods.

Emerging market borrowing costs also continued to climb, with the JPMorgan EMBI hard currency sovereign debt index at 365 basis points, its highest in a week.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Yi said China believes that Turkey has the "ability to overcome temporary economic difficulties", according to a translated statement placed on the ministry's website Friday.

Doubts about Turkey's future intensified as relations with the United States, a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, soured.

"They made up this phoney charge that he's a spy", Trump said.

Turkish officials have retaliated by raising tariffs on USA goods.

Turkish diplomats are reportedly close to releasing a United States pastor at the center of a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the US.

President Trump tweeted Thursday evening calling for Brunson's release, saying that the U.S. Trump tweeted on Thursday. They want to hold our wonderful pastor.

"A one-dollar American bill was found in Dr. Golge's possession when arrested".

"We got somebody out for him", Trump said.

LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - World stocks rose on Friday as news of plans for U.S.

China is the latest country to offer some comforting words to President Recep Erdogan, as Turkey experiences a currency meltdown and a tariff spat with the U.S. It says the case against Atilla, sentenced to 32 months in prison, was politically motivated.

Amidst the currency's sharp decline, the S&P and Moody's ratings agencies each downgraded Turkey's debt a notch, and S&P projected the country would face a recession next year.