Turkish Court Rejects Appeal to Free Detained U.S. Pastor

People line up at a currency exchange shop in Istanbul as Turkey’s lira plunged

Explaining the new tariffs, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay said the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the USA administration".

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he delivers a speech to Turkish ambassadors at the Presidential Palace in Turkey, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018.

The Turkish lira rallied 3 percent on Thursday ahead of a presentation by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak to investors, shrugging off USA comments ruling out the removal of steel tariffs on Turkey even if it frees a US pastor.

The U.S. hit Turkey with sanctions and a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Turkish government doubled its tariffs on imports of American cars and alcoholic beverages to 120 and 140 percent, respectively, CNN reported. Last week, the USA also announced plans to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum.

Russia backs using national currencies, not the U.S. dollar, in its trade with Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, but he made no firm commitments that would immediately help Ankara to weather its currency crisis.

The currency lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over President Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

Despite the political tensions, the lira rebounded 6 percent on Wednesday, strengthening to about 6.0 to the dollar.

Following the latest announcement, Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has called on the U.S.to engage in diplomacy.

Erdogan spokesman says problems with USA will be resolved
A banking watchdog's step to limit foreign exchange swap transactions also helped the currency. "Rates have gone up by 10 percent".

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency.

Brunson has been detained for almost two years in Turkey. "Turkey would do well not to test Trump's resolve to see Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned in foreign lands returned home to the United States", Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet.

Both the White House and State Department continued to express an uncompromising position toward Turkey on Tuesday, demanding that Ankara release US Pastor Andrew Brunson, whom it detained in October 2016, following July's abortive coup attempt.

The White House said on Tuesday President Donald Trump was frustrated that Turkey had not released Brunson.

In a press briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said, "The tariffs that are in place on steel would not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson".

US pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, escorted by Turkish plainclothes police officers, arrives at his house on July 25, 2018, in Izmir. "Not only with Turkey and Iran, we're also arranging and already implementing payments in national currencies with the People's Republic of China", he said.

The 2nd Penal Court in Izmir rejected his appeal and sent the pastor's petition to an upper court, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

It also said that until markets "normalize", it would temporarily stop applying the effect of day-to-day losses on the securities held by banks to their capital adequacy ratios.

Turkey slapped another round of steep tariffs on US goods as the two countries escalate their trade battle and push the relationship to a breaking point. Brunson's lawyer told Reuters that the appeal could be heard sooner that the usual three to seven days.


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