Donald Trump Challenges Turkey: ‘We Are Not Going to Take It’

Posted August 18, 2018

The U.S.is threatening further sanctions against Turkey if it does not quickly release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained by the Turkish government for almost two years. "Similarly, there has been no improvement in relations with the USA and additional sanctions may be on the horizon".

He asked Mnuchin for an update on sanctions punishing Turkey for pastor Andrew Brunson's detention.

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.

For years Turkish firms have borrowed in dollars and lira to take advantage of lower interest rates.

"We will turn this crisis into an opportunity", said Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin after a cabinet meeting chaired by the president, saying measures taken so far had helped bring about a "rapid improvement process" over the last two days.

At 1827 GMT the currency stood at 6.0350 to the dollar, 4 percent weaker after tumbling as much as 7 percent earlier.

Referring to imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump said "they have a great Christian pastor there, he's a very innocent man".

Efforts to rally support and bolster domestic markets included a call Thursday between Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and worldwide investors. It estimates Turkey's short-term external debt at $180 billion and total external debt at $460 billion - the highest in emerging markets.

Last week, US President Donald Trump said he had doubled the tariffs on aluminium and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to sharply hike tariffs on several US products.

S&P said the downgrade of the debt rating to "B+" "reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira" which will undermine Turkey's economy. Turkey retaliated with tariffs on some US imports and said it would boycott USA electronic goods.

"Turkey is both more exposed and less able to do something about it than any other country", says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.

American officials have also protested the detentions of several Turkish employees of the USA diplomatic mission in Turkey, including Metin Topuz, Hamza Ulucay and Mete Canturk. Turkish officials say the case is a matter for the courts.

"Unfortunately, our words have fallen on deaf ears, and American weapons ended up being used to target civilians and members of our security forces in Syria, Iraq and Turkey". "They made a big mistake trying to tie this to other things".

The previous day two Greek soldiers held by Turkey since March for illegally crossing the border were also freed in a move warmly welcomed by Athens.