US Warns Turkey of Sanctions if it Does Not Release Pastor

Devin Lawrence
August 17, 2018

The two countries have been embroiled in a heated diplomatic spat over of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held on espionage and terror-related charges.

U.S. Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin earlier said the U.S. could put more sanctions on Turkey.

Many countries had been the target of similar United States trade measures, he said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

During a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump had harsh words for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally saying, "They have not proven to be a good friend".

Trump, in a tweet, condemned the Turkish government for taking "advantage" of the US and added that while the administration would not pay for Pastor Andrew Brunson's release, the "cutting back on Turkey". The embattled currency weakened in early London trading, with one dollar buying 5.86 lira, but has just recovered to 5.8, up 0.26%.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, was due to address hundreds of foreign investors through a tele-conference on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to reassure the markets.

Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the dispute with the United States is as wide as ever.

Trump said the United States had helped Turkey in a related incident, but that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally had not repaid the favor.

"The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point", Sanders added. "Not fair. Not right".

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US President Donald Trump last Friday announced he would double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, mocking the slide of the Turkish lira on Twitter.

It has so incensed Washington that the 2019 NDAA - a bill that sets out the USA military's budget for the coming year - blocked the delivery of brand-new F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. The United States was the fourth-largest source of imports to Turkey previous year, accounting for $12 billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

Both countries have been engaged in a trade war, ostensibly over Brunson.

A day earlier, he said the U.S. was seeking to stab Turkey "in the back" by sending the lira into a tailspin.

The dispute is one of several between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, including diverging interests in Syria and USA objections to Ankara's ambition to buy Russian defence systems, that have contributed to instability in Turkish financial markets.

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.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected his latest appeal to be released from house arrest.

Erdogan has remained combative towards Trump's economic decisions, vowing to boycott United States products such as the iPhone.

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