United States threatens Turkey with more sanctions if it doesn’t free pastor

The White House said Wednesday that the United States "won't forget" how Turkey treated Andrew Brunson, the detained American pastor, after a court rejected his appeal for release.

Local Turkish social media has been awash this week with footage of people smashing their iPhones in protest of US President Donald Trump and his recent sanctions on Turkey. If they side with Turkey, they run the risk of antagonizing US President Donald Trump.

Turkey on Friday threatened to respond if the USA levied further sanctions.

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

Last week, Trump announced on Twitter that he had green-lit a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, and warned that U.S. relations with Turkey "are not good at this time!"

The United States and Turkey have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs in Trump's attempt to persuade Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to give up Brunson, who denies charges that he was involved in a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.

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

"We have responded to (U.S. sanctions) in accordance to World Trade Organization rules and will continue to do so", Pekcan told reporters on Friday.

The lira has lost nearly 40 per cent of its value against the dollar this year as the feud between Mr Trump and President Erdogan has deepened.

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Trump prefaced Mnuchin's remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend.

This has worsened a crisis for Turkey's currency, the lira, which has lost about a third of its value against the dollar since January.

The currency lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over President Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

The lira sank to an unprecedented 7.24 to the dollar on Monday, drawing expert warnings that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had to intervene before it was too late.

"We can solve issues with the United States very easily, but not with the current approach", Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara late on Thursday.

Turkey's biggest mobile phone importing companies have cancelled their iPhone orders as Turkish citizens join a move to boycott U.S. products.

Speaking to his supporters on Tuesday, Erdogan slammed the U.S. for using the economy as a "weapon" and said the Turkey was facing an "economic attack" and a "bigger, deeper operation".

A day earlier, he said the USA was seeking to stab Turkey "in the back" by sending the lira into a tailspin. "You are trading a strategic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally for a priest". "Can such a thing be accepted?" Turkey also maintains a small military base in Qatar.

Although Qatar has now pledged $15 billion it has not actually paid anything, and it may not be enough to solve Turkey's economic problems.

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