Turkey to Retaliate if US Slaps on More Sanctions: Turkish Minister

Gladys Abbott
August 18, 2018

"We have responded to the measures the United States has taken, and will continue to do so based on our global trade law rights and in accordance to World Trade Organization rules", said the minister, Ruhsar Pekcan. "We have seen no credible evidence against Mr. Brunson, and we call on Turkish authorities to resolve his case immediately in a transparent and fair manner".

Brunson, an Evangelical pastor residing in the coastal province of Izmir, is standing trial in Turkey over terrorism charges.

While I remain hopeful for the expeditious release of Pastor Andrew, let me be clear that we fully support the President's action in refusing to pay a ransom to Turkey - a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally - for the release of an innocent man.

He asked Mnuchin for an update on sanctions punishing Turkey for pastor Andrew Brunson's detention.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen will meet US representatives, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. Trump said on Twitter.

Escalating tensions on trade between the United States and some of its largest trading partners had driven traders to sell emerging market currencies and take to the safety of the USA currency.

The President also sent a message directly to Pastor Andrew through Twitter, calling him a "wonderful Christian pastor" and letting Pastor Andrew know that he considers him a "patriot hostage".

Brunson is charged with spying for the PKK - a designated terrorist group in the United States and Turkey - and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey during which 251 people died and thousands were injured. "They have a great Christian pastor there".

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Turkey's finance ministry said on Friday that credit channels would remain open and that it would take measures to relieve banks and the real sector, after the Turkish lira currency crashed to a record low against the dollar earlier this week, Reuters reported.

S&P said the downgrade of the debt rating to "B+" "reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira" which will undermine Turkey's economy.

Turkey, in turn, criticized the prosecution in the US of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a top official at Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank who was convicted of helping Iran avoid USA sanctions.

"They missed a big opportunity".

Over 160,000 people, including some Americans, have been detained after the government charged them with helping orchestrate the same coup, according to the UN.

"It is worth noting that the status of officials involved in the (US-China) negotiations is not very high, which eliminates the possibility of breakthrough decisions in the near future".

Their weakness stemmed also from falls in their currencies after the Turkish lira plunged this month on concerns about diplomatic rifts between Ankara and Washington. Investors also fret over Mr Erdogan's influence over monetary policy. Mr Erdogan has cast the tariffs, and the lira's sell-off, as an "economic war" against Turkey.

Mr Trump, who has doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, said the steel tariffs had kicked in and the aluminium tariffs would take effect soon.

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