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On Aug. 1 relations between Ankara and Washington nosedived when the US imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers after Turkey refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

Washington warned more economic pressures may be in store for Turkey if it refuses to release Brunson, a White House official said on August 15.

"We have stood together and will continue to do so", he said, making clear the high-level meeting was meant to communicate unequivocal support for Turkey at a critical juncture.

Trump later said in a tweet the United States "will pay nothing" for Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!" Turkey has borrowed much more in foreign currencies than any other country, as a percentage of its economy, and investors question how much authority its central bank has to raise interest rates.

The lira strengthened some 4 per cent against the dollar, to around 5.75 per dollar.

FILE - U.S. Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier talks to members of the media after visiting U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held under house arrest in Izmir, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018. "Not fair. Not right".

Trump, who has doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, said the steel tariffs had kicked in and the aluminum tariffs would take effect soon.




Mr Erdogan has accused the United States of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor". Referring to imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump said "they have a great Christian pastor there, he's a very innocent man". The United States was the fourth-largest source of imports to Turkey a year ago, accounting for $12 billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

"You work with us in Afghanistan, Somalia and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and then you go stab your partner in the back", he said earlier this week.

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

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

Ankara hit back with duties of up to 140% on alcohol, 120% on cars and a boycott of electronic products, including the iPhone.

The finance minister will seek to reassure global investors on Thursday in a conference call for which a ministry official said some far 3,000 people had signed up.

On Wednesday, Qatar pledged $15 billion to help Turkey through its economic and currency crisis. The Turkish government claims Gülen is responsible for the failed coup against Erdoğan in 2016; American officials have repeatedly said Ankara has not provided sufficient evidence for extradition to occur.


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