US Threatens Further Turkey Sanctions if Pastor Not Freed Soon

Turkey raises tariffs on US-origin products

USA treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the country will turn up the heat on under-fire president Recep Tayyip Erdogan by imposing more crippling sanctions if Turkey refuses to free American pastor Andrew Brunson.

On Wednesday, however, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the United States imposed sanctions against its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally on "national security" grounds and that even if Turkey were to release Brunson-whose situation magnified the Ankara-Washington rift in the first place-US sanctions would still not be lifted.

Last week, US President Donald Trump said he had doubled the tariffs on aluminium and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to sharply hike tariffs on several US products.

Despite the release of the Greek soldiers and the Amnesty International chair, a court ruled on Wednesday to extend USA pastor Andrew Brunson's from house arrest.

The threat of sanctions comes amid Trump's concerns over Brunson, who is accused of being involved with an attempted coup that led to tens of thousands of people being arrested in 2016.

US Threatens More Turkey Sanctions if Pastor Not Released
Brunson, 50, is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges, which he and the USA government vehemently deny. Despite the political tensions, the lira rebounded 6 percent on Wednesday, strengthening to about 6.0 to the dollar.

Last week, the U.S. doubled its tariffs on metal imports from Turkey.

He says the US will pay nothing for his return, because he is innocent and indicated the pressure on Turkey will continue.

The Turkish lira stood at 5.80 against the dollar on Friday after record lows in the week.

Turkey's image overseas is especially crucial because much of its growth has been fueled by foreign credit.

Turkey and Qatar have become close economic and political partners.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Saturday that his country would not be cowed by the United States, his latest broadside in the bitter feud between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey's currency, the lira, has plummeted after the two nations imposed tariffs on one another's goods. Both Brunson and top United States officials say the accusations are false. The Turkish banking watchdog (BDDK) has taken steps to stabilize the currency, limiting futures transactions for offshore investors and lowering limits on swap transactions.

"We have responded to (U.S. sanctions) in accordance to World Trade Organization rules and will continue to do so", Pekcan told reporters on Friday. "Investors also fret over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy".

Turkey and its firms face repayments of almost $3.8 billion on foreign currency bonds in October, Societe General has calculated. For companies, the cost of servicing foreign debt has risen by a quarter in lira terms in the past two months alone. "They should have given him back a long time ago".

Cavusoglu spoke about the current situation in Turkey during the phone call and said his government was willing to strengthen strategic communication with China, the statement said. But the sell-off has increased the cost of servicing that debt, particularly for companies whose revenues are exclusively in lira.

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Elmira Bayrasli, who teaches worldwide affairs with a focus on Turkey at Bard College, said that Erdogan is improving relations with Europe to increase confidence in the Turkish market.

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