Economy

Turkey court rejects new appeal to release detained United States pastor

Turkey court rejects new appeal to release detained United States pastor”

In response to Trump's tariffs, Turkish officials said they will impose a 50 percent tax on US rice, 140 percent on spirits, 60 percent on tobacco and 120 percent on cars while increasing duties on a variety of other goods.

"The tariffs that are in place on steel won't be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson", Sanders said.

US Vice President Mike Pence also renewed his threats to Turkey on Wednesday, warning that he and Trump would "stand firm" until Brunson is released. Ankara more than doubled the tariff on United States rice to 50%, increased the USA coal tariff to 14% from 10% and more than tripled the tariff on cars to 120%.

Turkey took its boldest steps yet to try to ward off a financial crisis by making it harder for traders to bet against the battered lira and easing rules on restructuring troubled loans that have already topped $20 billion.

Turkey entered into an understanding to the Russian defense system despite being a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, and has been increasingly cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, alarming both the U.S. and EU.

The crisis has sent the Turkish currency into free fall since Friday.

Peter O'Flanagan, the head of trading at the foreign exchange consultancy Clear Treasury, said: "Restrictions from the Turkish central bank limiting banks' use of swap lines has had the desired effect on the lira". Erdogan has encouraged his citizens to sell any American dollars they have to buy local currency, but the lira continues to slide.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, warned the Turkish tariff hikes risked provoking a new reaction from Trump and ultimately adding to downward pressure on the lira.

While Erdogan can buy time, it's not clear how the standoff with the USA can be resolved so long as Turkey continues to detain the pastor.

An evangelical from North Carolina, he has been held in Turkey for almost two years over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a failed coup in 2016.

Doha has United States dollars 20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, official figures showed last month, and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate.

If Brunson is not released, the next escalatory measure by the USA would most likely be targeted sanctions on businesspeople with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

On Wednesday, a court rejected an appeal for Brunson's release from detention and for a travel ban against him to be lifted, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. An upper court had yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters. "The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

The tariffs come a day after Erdogan said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

The Turkish lira has plummeted to record lows in recent weeks and has dropped 42 percent so far this year, a reaction to Turkey's strained relations with the United States and Erdogan's economic policies and debt accumulation. Erdoğan has also said the country would boycott USA electronics.

Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured worldwide investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting that the country's banks were healthy and strong.

Germany and Qatar have thrown their support behind the Turkish president amid the escalating tensions between Ankara and Washington. Other Turkish markets were less buoyant: the main share index dipped 1.4 percent and the 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 21.37 percent from 21.02 percent.



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