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White House Calls On Turkey to Release American Pastor Andrew Brunson

White House Calls On Turkey to Release American Pastor Andrew Brunson”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned on Thursday that the next series of sanctions against Turkey are coming "soon" unless that nation immediately gives in to demands to free jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The Turkish lira has already lost about 30 percent of its value against the USA dollar since the beginning of August, when tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies soared unprecedentedly over the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American Christen pastor, in Turkey over terror-related charges.

His case now lies at the heart of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States that has prompted a crash of Turkey's lira currency.

Turkey has responded by declaring that it will raise tariffs on a number of USA imports, including cars, tobacco and spirits.

The Turkish lira stood at 5.80 per dollar on Friday, up about 0.4 percent against the dollar.

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Turkey's currency recovered slightly after the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released various high-profile prisoners; this, after the lira plummeted to a new low last week when President Donald Trump increased tariffs on the import of Turkish aluminum and steel. Referring to imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump said "they have a great Christian pastor there, he's a very innocent man".

"We have put sanctions on several of their cabinet members", Mnuchin told President Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting attended by the press. The pastor was arrested in 2016 after the failed coup attempt and has been held in remand since. 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.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak - who is Erdogan's son-in-law, said Turkey fully understood and recognised all of its domestic challenges, but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

Speaking as he left the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn: "They have a wonderful Christian pastor".

The sanctions are believed to have further exacerbated economic turmoil in Turkey, which some believe has its roots in misguided economic policies of the government in recent years.

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The flailing Turkish lira rebounded slightly on Thursday, on the heels of Qatar's announcement that it would earmark $15 billion for deposits and investment projects to be made in Turkey.

There are flaws with Turkey's gambit, including the fact that the funds from Qatar are not as reliable a proposition as IMF-branded liquidity, and they are small relative to Turkey's external funding needs.

Intermarket Strategy director Ashraf al-Ayedi said the effect of the Qatari support for Turkey is temporary, and won't be of major help during the Turkish currency crisis.

Turkey has repeatedly said the presence of terror forces near its border constitutes a threat and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists.

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