Stocks flat as Turkey worries offset U.S.-China trade talks

18 August, 2018, 03:24 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Christian Charisius  Reuters

Relations between Turkey and the U.S. are at a low point over the detention of Andrew Brunson, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government accuses of being involved in an attempted coup in 2016.

Albayrak's ministry said they had discussed US sanctions against Turkey and agreed to act together in responding to such moves and to boost cooperation between their countries.

Brunson, an evangelical preacher from North Carolina, is now under house arrest in Izmir.

The Trump administration has already sanctioned two Turkish leaders over the pastor's imprisonment.

Turkish authorities arrested Brunson in October of 2016 and accused him of being part of the attempted military coup earlier that summer.

The two countries 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 Brunson. "We haven't seen the last of that".

The Eye's report is based on comments from an anonymous diplomatic source.

The pastor's appeal had been rejected by a lower court and was sent to the higher court, Brunson's lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt said, according to Anadolou.

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"They made up this phoney charge that he's a spy", Trump said.

Analysts say a sharp hike in interest rates is needed to stop the declining value of lira, but Ankara is opposed to any rate hike which would likely undercut growth. Inflation is at a 14-year high, and looks to be on the brink of a major debt crisis.

Though Turkey's financial troubles did not originate with the battle over Brunson's release, the moves have sped up the Turkish economy's decline.

The tensions between Washington and Ankara escalated in July after Trump announced the USA will impose sanctions against Turkey as a result of the almost two-year-long detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

Turkey's lira fell once again after the trade minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, said on Friday that her government would respond to any new trade duties, which Mr Trump threatened in his overnight tweet.

That much information was revealed by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin while addressing a cabinet meeting on Thursday when he said that the next spiral of tit-for-tat sanctions was coming soon, deepening a spat that has rattled financial markets, if Brunson is not released by Turkey. He called Brunson "a great patriot hostage". "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" he tweeted.

Turkey's currency plummeted 20 percent against the greenback in a single trading day last Friday after President Donald Trump announced a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Ankara, in return for the country's continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The court in the western city of Izmir ruled that Brunson, who faces 35 years in jail if convicted, would remain under house arrest, his lawyer Cem Halavurt told AFP.

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