Turkish court rejects U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson's appeal

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained amid Turkey´s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The Lira has lost more than 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing influence over the economy.

Turkey's currency, the lira, bounced back sharply on Wednesday morning, falling back below six per dollar.

But many analysts say the only way for the authorities to show they are really serious about tackling Turkey´s economic problems - which include inflation approaching some 16 percent - would be a sharp rate hike.

Kılıç and 10 other human rights activists, including Amnesty International Turkey's director, İdil Eser, went on trial in October accused of aiding groups that Turkey describes as "armed terrorist organizations".

A treasury desk trader at one bank said this showed relations with the European Union could recover "while tense relations continue with the US". "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira".

The chief executive of Turkey's Akbank said the banking sector remained strong and the measures taken to support the market had started to have an impact, adding there was no withdrawal of deposits.

The Turkish government has doubled its retaliatory tariffs on American cars to 120% and on alcoholic drinks to 140%, according to a notice published Wednesday. Tariffs were also increased on goods including cosmetics, rice and coal.

The duties were raised in response to the US administration's "deliberate attacks on our economy", Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter.

Turkey has been thrown into crisis mode over the past week after US President Donald Trump doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on the country, sending the value of the lira into free-fall.

"Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the government of Qatar is now overlooking the situation in Turkey and did not provide the necessary political and humanitarian support... is this how a friendship should be?" the newspaper's report said. The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interest.

Andrew Brunson's continued detention with charges of terrorism and espionage was cited as the basis of USA sanctions on two Turkish ministers on 1 August, which was followed by a doubling on 10 August of USA tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium to 50% and 20% respectively.

In a tweet on July 26, Trump called Brunson a "great Christian, family man and wonderful human being" and said he "should be released immediately".

The 2nd Penal Court in Izmir rejected his appeal and sent the pastor's petition to an upper court, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Brunson was in prison for 20 months and recently was released to house arrest.

Erdogan has called on Turks to exchange their dollars for lira in order to shore up the domestic currency.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have repeatedly urged Turkey to release Brunson, with the USA levying sanctions against two Turkish ministers over his detainment.

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