Saturday, 20 July, 2019

US threatens more Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

Published on: 7:35 pm - Friday | August 17, 2018

The US warned Thursday it would levy more sanctions on the troubled Turkish economy if Ankara does not soon release a jailed American pastor described by President Donald Trump as a “hostage.”

Deepening a spat that has rattled financial markets and threated to split a
long-standing defense and political alliance, Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin suggested the next spiral of tit-for-tat sanctions was coming soon.

“We have put sanctions on several of their cabinet members,” Mnuchin told
President Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting attended by the press, including AFP.

“We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release him

Trump prefaced Mnuchin’s remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend to America.

Referring to imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump said “they have a
great Christian pastor there, he’s a very innocent man.”

He later tweeted that the Protestant clergyman, who has been detained since
2016 when he was arrested in a government crackdown following a failed coup bid, was a “great patriot” being held “hostage.”

Christian evangelicals constitute an important part of Trump’s political

The threat comes as Turkey sought to reassure investors rattled by the
sanctions-fueled crash of the Turkish lira, insisting the country would
emerge stronger.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, addressed hundreds of foreign investors from the United States,
Europe and Asia via a conference call in a bid to soothe the markets.

The lira has clawed back some ground over the last two days — after losing
almost a quarter of its value on Friday and Monday — but economists are
warning that Turkey must urgently address its economic imbalances to avoid
more troubles ahead.

“Turkey will emerge stronger from these (currency) fluctuations,” Albayrak
was quoted by state-run TRT television as saying during the conference call.

Albayrak rejected seeking a bailout from the IMF, an option never seen as
likely given that Erdogan often boasts of paying off Turkey’s past IMF debts
in May 2013.

The lira, which earlier this week traded at well over seven to the dollar,
held onto its gains during Albayrak’s discussion, trading at 5.7 against the

“We will turn this crisis into an opportunity,” said Erdogan’s spokesman
Ibrahim Kalin after a cabinet meeting chaired by the president, saying
measures taken so far had helped bring about a “rapid improvement process”
over the last two days.





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