U.S. threatens more Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish metals exports to the United States last week prompting Turkey, which says it will not bow to threats, to raise tariffs on USA cars, alcohol and tobacco by the same amount on Wednesday.

Turkey's lira fell once again after the trade minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, said Friday that her government would respond to any new trade duties, which U.S. President Donald Trump threatened in an overnight tweet.

President Trump tweeted on Friday (August 17) that the United States "will pay nothing" for Andrew Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

Elsewhere, the dollar dipped against a basket of currencies, moving further away from its highest levels since June 2017, hit earlier in the week as investors bought the USA currency in a flight to safety.

In an intensifying cycle of tensions with the United States, Erdogan has called for a boycott of USA electronic goods such as iPhones and Ankara has sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. products.

Another steep decline in the Turkish lira on Friday pushed emerging market equities lower and kept other world markets cautious, overshadowing hopes that an upcoming U.S.

"We have more that we are planning to do if they don't release him quickly", Mnuchin said. "We are not going to take this sitting down".

Since the recent developments, a number of countries, including Germany, China, Iran, Italy, and Qatar, voiced support for the Turkish economy and called for a diplomatic solution to the problems between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. He criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor". He called Brunson "a great patriot hostage".

Instead of criticizing such a remark, which implies a swap through superseding court rulings, the White House asks Erdoğan to overrule the courts and get Brunson out, while doing nothing against a crime suspect with an arrest warrant, despite the 1981 legal agreement between them.

After hitting a record low of 7.24 this week, the lira has benefited from central bank steps to underpin a currency hit by concerns at President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and a bitter dispute with Washington.

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

Turkey has also in recent days shown an interest in repairing ties with Europe after a crisis sparked by Ankara's crackdown on alleged plotters of the 2016 failed coup.

Trump, who has doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, said the steel tariffs had kicked in and the aluminum tariffs would take effect soon.

  • Eleanor Harrison