Turkish lira weakens as U.S. warns of new sanctions over detained pastor

Turkey's currency strengthens despite Mike Pence warning

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are at an impasse regarding the detention of an American pastor, differing views on Syria, and Turkey's purchase of Russian military equipment.

Qatar, backed by Erdogan during the Saudi-led embargoes on the emirate in 2017, on Wednesday pledged to channel $15 billion direct investment into Turkey, a sign of burgeoning ties between the two countries.

President Donald Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Thursday that Turkey has "not proven to be a good friend" to the U.S. He complained that his administration secured the release of a Turkish citizen from an unnamed country on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's behalf.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some USA goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

Trump later tweeted that the USA "will pay nothing" for the release "but we are cutting back on Turkey!". But it gained some support and strengthened more than 3 percent on Thursday, shrugging off USA comments ruling out the removal of steel tariffs on Turkey even if it frees a United States pastor.

"Recent developments in the U.S. -Turkey relationship threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades", said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs, in a message to the U.S. Chamber's U.S. -Turkey Business Council.

"The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point", Sanders added.

At 0656 GMT the currency stood at 5.7700 to the dollar, firming 0.7 percent from a close of 5.8150.

And the day earlier, two Greek soldiers held by Turkey since March for illegally crossing the border were also freed.

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"Rates have gone up by 10 per cent".

"They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira", he said.

The finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors on Thursday in a conference call for which a ministry official said some far 3,000 people had signed up. "Qatar has pledged Dollars 15 billion of direct investments in Turkey", presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter yesterday.

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

Albayrak said there would be no concessions on fiscal discipline and said, "We are targeting lowering inflation into the single digits as soon as possible".

Analysts say Turkey is also likely to seek a more dynamic economic relationship with China and Russian Federation, with whom ties have warmed considerably in recent years. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, N.C., shown in Izmir, Turkey, on July 25.

Mr Brunson denies any involvement. An upper court had yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters. On Tuesday, he said Turkey would boycott US electronic products.

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