Turkey's president says country will defy economic threats

Speaking in Washington, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders made clear the United States had no plan to remove the steel tariffs if Brunson were released though she said it could remove sanctions imposed on two senior Turkish officials.

The lira last traded at 6.0100 to the dollar at 2159 GMT, 3 percent weaker after tumbling as much as 7 percent earlier. He also said on Friday that he had ordered to double USA tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Only hours after a Turkish court rejected an appeal on Friday for the release of a US pastor from house arrest, President Donald Trump said Ankara had acted "very, very badly" in the case and the United States was "not going to take it sitting down".

"We have responded to the measures the United States has taken, and will continue to do so based on our worldwide trade law rights and in accordance to World Trade Organization rules", said the minister, Ruhsar Pekcan. "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", vice-president Mike Pence said in a tweet.

The Turkish government has also complained about what it calls USA support for Kurdish rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, and it has condemned the US refusal to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey has accused of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt.

It said: "The downgrade reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira and the resulting projected sharp balance of payments adjustment will undermine Turkey's economy".

Dashing hopes for a quick solution to the dispute, a Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal for the evangelical pastor's release from house detention.

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ANKARA - A day after two major ratings agencies downgraded Turkey closer to junk status amid a currency crisis, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he would challenge those playing "games" on the economy.

The Turkish president emphasized Turkey's determination to eliminate all threats from Syria and Iraq.

Turkey has found itself in an economic chokehold as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuses to allow the central bank to raise interest rates, thereby steadying inflation. "Would the amount of Turkey's debts decrease?"

"They have invested a lot of pressure into the release of Brunson, given the importance of the midterm elections in the US".

"Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man held in Turkey & justice demands that he be released".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has bristled at such USA pressure. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage.

The almost two-year detention of Brunson, who is being held on terror charges, has soured relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and sent the lira tumbling.

  • Darren Santiago