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

Sean Reid
August 17, 2018

Turkey and Qatar - which is also a very close United States ally - have become close economic and political partners in recent times.

"We [also] have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.

Turkey's influential business groups have called on the government to implement tighter monetary policy to help overcome the country's currency crisis. In the months preceding the blockade Turkish companies were handling projects worth about $11.6bn in Qatar, most of which is put into FIFA World Cup 2022 projects, according to Qatar Chamber.

They shared a list of 30 Turkish brands, including Turkish Airlines, urging people to support them as much as they can.

The lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the U.S. dollar earlier this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and the row with the United States.

Brunson, a 50-year-old Christian pastor, was detained two years ago in Turkey on spying charges, and faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

The U.S. and Turkey reportedly were talking about improving relations, even as the latter hit back against the former with tariffs of its own.

Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the rift with the United States is as wide as ever. Few saw a Bank of England interest rate hike earlier this month as a vote of confidence in the economy, since Britain's future, and access to European markets, remains in doubt.

A top Turkish official says Turkey, France and Germany "are on the same page" concerning their opposition to US sanctions and tariffs restricting trade.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for a weaker us dollar in a bid to help USA exporters, but his recent trade policies, including the imposition of import tariffs on some Turkish goods, have had the opposite effect of strengthening the greenback.

On August 1 relations between Ankara and Washington nosedived when the USA imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers after Turkey refused to release pastor Andrew Brunson who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

That hasn't prevented Turkish officials from continuing to press their perceived leverage in Brunson.

Kalin said the German and French leaders told Erdogan that "they were also suffering and that they were also complaining about" U.S. President Donald Trump's administration's tendency to "use trade, dollars, taxes as weapons". Ankara also wanted Washington to hand over Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and who Turkey suspects of plotting the coup against Mr Erdogan.

MSCI's emerging market currency index.MIEM00000CUS hit its lowest level since May 2017 on Wednesday as many major emerging currencies extended their selloff in the wake of Turkey's currency crisis.

Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call Thursday to foster trade ties, a Turkish presidential source said.

JP Morgan said moves by Turkish authorities showed they were committed to stabilising the currency with technical measures such as restricting forex swaps and cancelling repo auctions to push up the weighted average cost of funding.

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