United States threatens Turkey with more sanctions if it doesn’t free pastor

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One of Turkey's high criminal courts has rejected USA pastor Andrew Brunson's request to be released from house arrest and permitted to travel overseas, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolou news agency. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Trump at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that more sanctions were ready to be put in place if Brunson were not freed.

Tensions between Turkey and the United States have been on the rise as Trump has pressed for the release of the pastor. Sanders lamented that Turkey had treated Brunson, "who we know to be a very good person and a strong Christian who has done nothing wrong, very unfairly, very badly".

The Trump administration has already sanctioned two Turkish leaders over the pastor's imprisonment. "He's a very innocent man", President Trump remarked at a Cabinet meeting Thursday.

Investors said Albayrak's conference call would test whether Turkey can persuade markets that its monetary policy is not hostage to political influence.

The US president announced on Twitter last week that he had authorized a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, stating that relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies "are not good at this time!" The currency has lost a third of its value this year.

Mr Erdogan is angry that the United States has not taken more action against the Gulenist movement and what he said was a failure "to unequivocally condemn" the 2016 coup attempt.

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The Turkish lira stood at 5.80 per dollar on Friday, up about 0.4 per cent against the dollar. Erdogan has cast the tariffs, and the sell-off in the lira, as an "economic war" against Turkey.

Trump, who doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, said the steel tariffs have kicked in the aluminum tariffs will take effect soon.

Mr Trump's comments came as Turkey's finance minister Berat Albayrak attempted to reassure 6,000 global investors and economists on a video link that the country would emerge stronger from the crisis.

Americans with a bit of common sense see that what is being done to Turkey is not only penalizing the Turkish people and plunging relations into a state of collapse, but it is also hurting global American security interests as well as the USA economy.

The currency has recovered from record lows earlier this week.

Investors are concerned that Turkey has amassed high levels of foreign debt to fuel growth in recent years.

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