Published: Mon, August 13, 2018

US Gave Turkey Until Last Week To Release American Pastor

US Gave Turkey Until Last Week To Release American Pastor

By 1903 GMT on Sunday - early Monday morning in the Asia Pacific - the lira was at 7.06 against the dollar, after touching 7.24 earlier.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech that the drop was part of a "campaign" led by foreign powers against the nation. "I am calling on those in America again".

"It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor", Erdogan told a rally in the Black Sea town of Unye.

He added: "We need to be in solidarity".

"We have not made concessions on justice so far, and we will never make any".

"We will give our response to the person - who declares war against the whole world including our country - by turning towards new markets, new partners and new alliances", Erdogan added.

[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan was talking at a gathering in Ordu on the Black Sea about the [imprisoned] American priest [Andrew Brunson] that led to an escalation in the diplomatic spat between the countries, both members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Erdogan appeared to indicate that the entire alliance between Turkey - which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 with strong American backing - and Washington was at stake.

The arrest of United States pastor Brunson since October 2016 has soured already delicate relations with Washington.

President Trump called Brunson an "innocent man of faith" who should be released immediately. A delegation of Turkish officials held talks with their counterparts in Washington this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough.

This came in the wake of sanctions imposed by Mr Trump for Turkey's refusal to free pastor Andrew Brunson, who the nation detained on terror charges despite the insistence of the U.S. he is innocent.

"Don't forget", he said, "if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God".

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said: "Trump's jubilation in inflicting economic hardship on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey is shameful". According to a source in Erdogan's office, the two said they were pleased with the positive direction in their economic and trade ties and with the ongoing cooperation in the energy and defense sectors.

The Turkish strongman also lashed out at interest rates, denounced them as a "tool of exploitation" which should be kept as low as possible.

And the Brunson case is just one of many bones of contention between Turkey and the United States, ranging from Syria to Ankara's increasingly cosy relationship with Moscow.

Relations between Washington and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also have worsened because of the detention of three locally employed U.S. consular workers, trade matters and differences over Syria.

"You arrest my Halkbank general deputy director?"

Trump announced the punitive doubling of tariffs on Twitter, with the White House saying the sanctions would take effect from August 13.

Turkey wants the United States to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

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