Turkish lira firms before finance minister's presentation

Gladys Abbott
August 16, 2018

On Wednesday, Turkey rejected pastor Andrew Craig Brunson's appeal to be released from custody, and slapped additional tariffs on USA imports.

It followed the imposition of sanctions on two Turkish government ministers earlier this month that Sanders said were directly related to Brunson and "others that we consider are being held unfairly".

The United States was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey past year, accounting for $12 billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

The lira rebounded some 8 per cent on Tuesday, helped by news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors.

The duties were raised in response to the USA administration's "deliberate attacks on our economy", vice-president Fuat Oktay said.

The White House said on Tuesday President Donald Trump was frustrated that Turkey had not released Brunson. On Aug. 14, he said Turkey would boycott US electronic products.

"In times when the dollar has been turned into a tool for political punishment, we will continue to strongly take steps to protect the lira in worldwide trade".

Turkey doubled tariffs on some US imports including alcohol, cars and tobacco on Wednesday in retaliation for USA moves, but the lira rallied further after the central bank's liquidity moves had the effect of supporting the currency.

A court in Izmir rejected the appeal, but a higher court would review the appeal, the report said. The sanctions have sent the Turkish lira into a tailspin.

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After a more than 8% rise in the Turkish lira versus the USA dollar on Tuesday, the unit continued its rally on Wednesday as authorities took measures to curb bets against the currency.

In a press briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said, "The tariffs that are in place on steel would not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson".

The decree said the move brought tariffs to 50 percent on imports of U.S. rice, 140 percent on hard alcoholic drinks like spirits, 60 percent on leaf tobacco and 60 percent on cosmetics.

As CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reported on Wednesday, angry Turks have also torn up fake dollar bills in protest.

On Wednesday, the lira traded at 6.4125 to the US dollar, weakening from a close of 6.3577 a day earlier.

Mr Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release.

"Turkey would do well not to test @POTUS Trump's resolve to see Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned in foreign lands returned home to the United States". In the ruling it stipulated Brunson, who faces 35 years in jail over terror and espionage charges, will remain in detention.

Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott U.S. electronic goods like iPhones, even though he has himself been photographed repeatedly using the product himself.

Turkey and the US have been locked in a heated crisis emanating from unjust sanctions and the actions of Trump, as Washington levied sanctions on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül for not releasing American pastor Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

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