Turkey will respond if United States imposes more sanctions amid pastor row

Andrew Brunson after his release from jail in Izmir last month

Andrew Brunson after his release from jail in Izmir last monthDEMIROREN NEWS AGENCY REUTERS

The American pastor jailed in Turkey on espionage and terrorism-related charges was praised by President Trump on Thursday who called him "a great patriot hostage" - and said the USA would "pay nothing for the release of an innocent man".

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

"Every product that we buy in foreign currency from outside, we will produce them here and sell overseas", Erdogan said in a speech, according to The New York Times.

U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin yesterday said to Mr Trump that further sanctions are ready to be put in place.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was detained in 2016 after a government crackdown following a failed coup attempt.

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The Turkish lira stood at 5.80 per USA dollar on Friday, up about 0.4 percent against the dollar. Investors also fret over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

The Turkish lira has strengthened more than 3% today, ahead of a presentation by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak to investors, shrugging off U.S. comments ruling out the removal of steel tariffs on Turkey even if it frees a U.S. pastor.

"Escalating the use of Section 232 tariffs on imports from Turkey poses serious risks for the United States", Brilliant said. "Not fair. Not right".

The US doubled tariffs last week over Turkey's refusal to free a US pastor who is imprisoned there.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested during a cabinet meeting on Thursday that the next spiral of tit-for-tat sanctions was coming soon, deepening a spat that has rattled financial markets, if Andrew Brunson is not released by Turkey.

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"Qatar & Turkey's relationship goes beyond strategic partnerships", Qatar's interior minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani tweeted in the wake of the announcement. Brunson denies the charges, noting that his Christian faith makes him incompatible with both groups.

Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court. "The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interest".

Turkey's finance chief tried to reassure thousands of worldwide investors on a conference call Thursday, in which he pledged to fix the economic troubles that have seen the country spiral into a currency crisis.

There was also optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial. In response, Erdogan has called for a boycott of USA electrical goods while Ankara has sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. goods.

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