Turkish court rejects US pastor Brunson's appeal for release

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The US president is taking issue with the continued detention in Turkey of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces 35 years in prison on espionage and terror-related charges.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said additional US sanctions are ready if Turkey refuses to release an American pastor whom the Trump administration says is illegally detained.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly pressed Ankara to release Brunson, whom he describes as a "great patriot" who is being held "hostage".

"We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

The Turkish lira was slightly lower on Friday after the U.S. warned Ankara should expect more sanctions over the detention of an American evangelical pastor.

The currency has recovered from record lows earlier this week. In response, Erdogan has called for a boycott of USA electrical goods while Ankara has sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. goods.

I have just authorised a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminium with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downwards against our very strong Dollar!

Earlier on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hinted at more sanctions over Brunson, saying, "We have more that we are planning to do if they don't release him quickly".

Speaking as he left the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn: "They have a wonderful Christian pastor".

Qatar defied US President Donald Trump on Wednesday and promised to plough $15 billion into Turkish financial markets and banks.

Turkey says the case is a matter for the courts.

The Turkish leader's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, wrote on Twitter, "We are fending off this economic coup attempt with the wisdom of the Turkish nation and the leadership of our president". The priest he wants being USA -resident Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the 2016 military coup attempt, but that can not be a peg.

Albayrak said the government aimed at making Turkey an investment center in the region. "Investors also fret over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy".

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.

Last week, Trump tweeted that his administration was doubling aluminium and steel tariffs for Turkey, which promoted Ankara to sharply hike tariffs on some United States products.

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