USA seeks release of jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2018

The Treasury Department previously sanctioned two Turkish officials involved in Brunson's detainment at the start of August.

President Trump ordered a doubling of US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey Friday, escalating a diplomatic spat with a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in years over the detention for the last two years of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

After Mr. Brunson had been in jail for nearly 20 months, a court in July ordered him to be moved to house arrest.

Namely, within the tightening of economic measures, US President Donald Tramp made a decision to double customs duties on Turkish steel and aluminum, speeding up the fall of the Turkish currency, which lost 16 percent on the dollar on Friday. Sanctions and pressure would only serve to harm ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Hami Aksoy also said in a statement.

The lira tumbled 16 percent against the dollar on Friday. Reacting to geopolitical concerns, the Dow Jones industrial Average fell 138 points by 11:50 am.

"The traditional solutions as interest rates' hikes will not tackle this issue", Abu Basha explained, saying that the tLira's plummet has a very deep geopolitical dimension, which caused the Turkish currency to lose about 50% of its value in 2018. As recently as April the ratio was about four lira per dollar.

"During this period, Turkey has set records in its exports, production and employment", Erdogan said.

"There are various campaigns being carried out".

Erdogan also hit back at United States authorities for convicting Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, deputy director general of Turkish lender Halkbank on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions on billions of dollars of oil proceeds. "We are working hard".

Calling on Trump to act justly, he said: "We will act according to the global law".

In a televised speech on Friday, he referred to the diplomatic standoff as an economic war.

"We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances, to the one who waged an economic war against the entire world and also included our country", Erdogan said.

Turkey's economy is regarded as fragile because of its high debt, which the global Monetary Fund estimates is 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

Trump intensified his spat with Ankara by imposing higher tariffs on metal imports, putting unprecedented economic pressure on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and deepening turmoil in Turkish financial markets.

His comments on interest rates - and his recent appointment of his son-in-law as Finance Minister - have heightened perceptions that the central bank is not independent.

Communication and other exchanges shifted to a harsher tone in January, when Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" against Kurdish fighters in Afrin.

Other reports by iNewsToday