Turkish court rejects U.S. pastor Brunson's appeal for release - Haberturk

Turkish lira meltdown Erdogan Witold Bahrke

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured worldwide investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signalling it could ride out the dispute with the United States.

The lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, sparking a sell-off in emerging market currencies and weighing on global stocks.

U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that Turkey has "not acted as a friend", adding that "they made up these phony charges that he's a spy".

He also urged Brunson to serve as a "great patriot hostage" while he is jailed and criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

Following the Qatar news, the lira firmed briefly to 5.8699 from 6.04 to the dollar, before easing back to 6.0500 by 1658 GMT.

"There has been no improvement in relations with the USA and additional sanctions may be on the horizon", said William Jackson of Capital Economics in a note to clients, adding that the lira could see a downward trend in 2019 and beyond.

Around the same time as Mnuchin's comments, President Trump intervened on Tweeted that Turkey has "taken advantage of the United States for many years". He has ordered that assets of the U.S. Justice and Interior ministers be frozen, though it's unclear how much U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke might have invested in Turkey.

In the Turkish courts, Brunson has been unsuccessful in arguing for his release, and on Friday had his latest appeal rejected, according to The Associated Press.


On Monday, the central bank said it would provide all the liquidity Turkish banks needed, as it seeks to keep money flowing in the financial system.

Turkey, in turn, criticized the prosecution in the US of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a top official at Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank who was convicted of helping Iran avoid USA sanctions.

The dispute over Brunson and other frictions between Washington and Ankara have been one reason the Turkish lira has plunged 40 per cent this year. He is once again defiant against Western economic and political actors, whom he accuses of striving to destabilise Turkey under his rule, this time via the runs on the Turkish lira.

A high court in Izmir said on Friday Brunson would stay under house arrest, upholding a decision taken by a lower court earlier this week.

Ankara, for its part, wants Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in Pennsylvania who Turkish authorities say orchestrated the 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people lost their lives.

"We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" he Tweeted.

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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