Erdogan says Turkey will defy economic threats

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned against threatening his country with sanctions.

Turkey, meanwhile, is frustrated by the refusal of the U.S.to extradite a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused by Turkish authorities of engineering a 2016 coup attempt.

"We have responded to the measures the United States has taken, and will continue to do so based on our worldwide trade law rights and in accordance to World Trade Organization rules", said the minister, Ruhsar Pekcan.

In a brief statement, China's foreign ministry said: "China believes that Turkey has the ability to overcome the temporary economic difficulties, and hopes the relevant sides can ease their differences via dialogue".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that sanctions were ready to be put in place if Mr Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges, was not freed.

The Turkish lira fell 5 percent Friday after the Turkish court released its decision.

The lira has lost almost 40 per cent against the United States dollar this year, driven by worries over Mr Erdogan's growing control over the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation. Erdogan has in turn slapped sanctions on USA goods.

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Yesterday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal to release Brunson from house arrest, broadcaster Haberturk said.

Brunson is now on trial and held on house arrest, with few indications that Turkish officials intend to comply with the demands - despite the bullying attempt with US sanctions that were leveled against them two weeks ago. These increases affect a list of more than 20 goods, which Ankara first targeted earlier this summer in retaliation for the Trump administration's broad tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Though Turkey's financial troubles did not originate with the battle over Brunson's release, the moves have sped up the Turkish economy's decline. "Would the amount of Turkey's debts decrease?" "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" he tweeted. At the congress, President Erdogan was re-elected as head of the party.

According to the Middle East Eye, officials in Ankara are willing to concede to United States demands for the freedom of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical preacher accused of playing a role in the attempted coup there in 2016. He criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

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

The court in the western city of Izmir ruled that Brunson, who faces 35 years in jail if convicted, would remain under house arrest, his lawyer Cem Halavurt told AFP.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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