Trump attacks Turkey, vows to pay "nothing" for United States pastor's release

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting after an official welcoming ceremony at Presidential Complex in Ankara Turkey

He said: "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!".

"We have more that we are planning to do if they don't release him quickly", Mnuchin said during a meeting of President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

Last month, at Brunson's third court hearing in almost two years, USA officials thought they had brokered a deal to free him by pressuring Israel to release a Turkish citizen imprisoned there.

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.

President Donald Trump last week ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

Also worrying investors has been President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

The announcement helped the Turkish national currency lira recover from record lows against the U.S. dollar.

The conflict between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies is even more personalized because of U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose uncompromising statements contribute to a sense that the tension will ratchet up before any possibility of a climbdown.

In a separate development on Friday, Mr Trump said that Turkey had "been a problem for a long time", referring to the charges against Mr Brunson as "phoney".

The US has threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Turkey if it does not free a detained American pastor.

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Qatar's royal court released a statement saying Al-Thani "issued directives that will see the State of Qatar to provide a host of economic projects, investments, and deposits" worth $15 billion to support the Turkish economy. On Friday, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said a high court in Izmir had upheld a lower court's decision earlier this week to keep Brunson under house arrest.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that solving the rift with the United States is not hard.

Turkey, he said, has no plans to seek help from the International Monetary Fund or impose capital controls to stop money flowing overseas in response to the recent collapse of its lira currency.

Turkey and its firms face repayments of almost $3.8 billion on foreign currency bonds in October, Societe General calculated.

The lira rose as he spoke.

There is a fear that the lira will tumble again, prompt more speculation that Turkey may need a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which it has so far ruled out.

FILE PHOTO: A US dollar banknote is seen on top of 50 and 100 Turkish lira banknotes in this picture illustration in Istanbul, Turkey August 14, 2018.

But now, the sell-off has increased the cost of servicing that debt, particularly for companies whose revenues are exclusively in lira.

Turkey has the highest foreign exchange-denominated debt among emerging markets, Societe Generale said in a note on August 17, estimating its short-term external debt at $180 billion and total external debt at $460 billion.

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