Turkish high court rejects appeal for USA pastor Brunson's release

Turkish lira firms before minister's presentation

US President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Turkey, saying Washington will pay "nothing" to Ankara for the release of a detained American pastor.

Brunson, an evangelical Christian pastor originally from North Carolina but a longtime resident of Turkey, was accused by the Turkish government of terrorist involvement and playing a role in the Turkish military's 2016 attempted coup to overthrow the government.

This has worsened a crisis for Turkey's currency, the lira, which has lost about a third of its value against the dollar since January.

The lira, which earlier this week traded at well over seven to the dollar, had rebounded slightly over the last three days but on Friday it lost almost five percent of its value and was quoted at 6.1 against the dollar.

President Donald Trump last week ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

"They should have given him back a long time ago, and Turkey has in my opinion acted very, very badly, so we haven't seen the last of that".

"They have not proven to be a good friend", Trump said of Turkey during the Cabinet meeting.

"They want to hold our wonderful pastor", Trump added. 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%. Turkey retaliated with some $533 million of tariffs on some USA imports - including cars, tobacco and alcoholic drinks - and said it would boycott US electronic goods.

President Trump is ramping his attacks up on Turkey, claiming the country has taken advantage of the USA for many years.

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, and his Qatari counterpart Ali Sharif Al-Emadi were present at the talks in the capital Ankara.

"It is a shame", Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday. The Treasury Department earlier this month levied sanctions on two senior Turkish officials in retaliation for Brunson's continued detention. We are not going to stake it sitting down.

On Friday, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said her government would respond to any new trade duties imposed on the country, whose currency has plunged in recent weeks. Its leader lives in Pennsylvania and the US has rejected calls from Turkey to have him extradited. The currency has rebounded strongly after hitting a record low of 7.24 at the start of the week, bolstered by central bank measures to support it and Qatar's pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey.

In an analysis piece the Financial Times said the move to press Turkey to release Andrew Brunson was done to appease evangelical Christian voters who are a large core of Trump's support base.

However, analysts are calling for a sharp hike in interest rates - which Erdogan adamantly opposes because it will put a brake on economic growth.

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