Turkey unlikely to give up on U.S. despite unprecedented row


The lira has regained some of its value in the last 24 hours, following pledges from Arab nations to pour billions of dollars of funding into the Turkish economy.

Sanders responded that "the tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction", adding "certainly we don't support Turkey's decision to retaliate against us protecting our national security interests". Erdogan has encouraged his citizens to sell any American dollars they have to buy local currency, but the lira continues to slide.

If Brunson is not released, the next escalatory measure by the U.S. would most likely be targeted sanctions on businesspeople with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

With the pledge, Turkey is reaping the rewards of standing by its wealthy Arab ally while Gulf neighbors led by Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar past year.

Optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial and a banking watchdog's step to limit foreign exchange swap transactions have also helped the lira.

Erdogan issued the call and announced a massive hike in tariffs on US goods this week after the USA raised tariffs on Turkish imports and aimed new sanctions at Turkish officials in the row over American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who remains under house arrest pending his trial in Turkey on charges of espionage and terrorism.

Turkey's Finance Minister Berat Albayrak promised on Thursday the country will emerge "stronger" from the currency crisis sparked by a diplomatic spat with the United States, and ruled out an International Monetary Fund bailout. It is believed many Qatari investors could be at risk from a Turkish economic crisis.

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"Recent developments in the U.S. -Turkey relationship threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades", said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of global affairs, in a message to the U.S. Chamber's U.S. -Turkey Business Council.

Administration officials said the USA doesn't now have any meetings scheduled with Turkish officials to discuss Brunson's case.

Kalin's comments came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France amid a trade and diplomatic dispute with the United States that helped trigger a Turkish currency crisis. Meanwhile, Turkey retaliated on Wednesday by doubling the tariffs on the U.S. imports of spirits, cars and tobacco.

Turkey said Wednesday it was imposing extra tariffs on imports of products, including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that Washington will withdraw sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was set free.

The latest blow was sparked by sanctions imposed on Turkey by the Trump administration over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was jailed for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for an attempted coup in 2016. But the Turkish government's framing of its problems as an epic battle for sovereignty against outside enemies, particularly U.S. President Donald Trump, resonates among core supporters, even as fears grow that further falls of the Turkish lira could threaten bankruptcies among Turkish firms carrying high foreign currency debt.

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal to release Brunson and lift his travel ban. A higher court however, was scheduled to review the appeal, the agency said.