Turkish court rejects United States pastor Brunson's fresh appeal for release

Emerging market stocks in bear territory after 20 percent drop since January

Turkish court rejects United States pastor Brunson's fresh appeal for release

A higher Turkish court has rejected an appeal for the release from detention of the American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing terrorism-related charges and is now under house arrest in the Aegean province of Izmir.

His case now lies at the heart of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States that has prompted a crash of Turkey's lira currency.

The currency has lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by Erdogan's increasing influence on the economy and his call for lower interest rates despite the high inflation.

He was also charged with supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which was designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Turkey, saying Washington will pay "nothing" to Ankara for the release of a detained American pastor.

The hope is this will resolve a tariff war that threatens to curb global economic growth at a time when the US Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, creating difficulties for emerging market economies that have high external borrowing requirements.

Escalating tensions on trade between the United States and some of its largest trading partners had driven traders to sell emerging market currencies and take to the safety of the USA currency.

Washington and Ankara have been at loggerheads over the release of pastor Brunson who is held in Turkey.

Turkey has the highest foreign exchange-denominated debt among emerging markets, Societe Generale said in its note on Friday, estimating its short-term external debt at $180 billion and total external debt at $460 billion.

Supporters of Brunson, who ran a small church in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, say allegations that he was linked to Kurdish rebels as well as Turkish cleric and alleged coup plotter Fethullah Gulen are absurd.

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Turkey's lira ended a three-day rally and slid as much as 8 per cent on Friday.

Turkish longer-dated dollar bonds booked losses, while the credit default swaps curve remains inverted, indicating the level of strain.

"Diplomatic negotiations hit speed-bumps and that's not unusual in these kinds of situations", said Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney for Trump who is also representing Brunson's family.

The Turkish banking watchdog has taken steps to stabilize the currency, limiting futures transactions for offshore investors and lowering limits on swap transactions.

The Turkish lira's continued recovery helped some emerging market currencies, although the Chinese yuan slipped slightly after Thursday's big rise, underlining investor nervousness about volatility in developing markets.

But some economists have called for more decisive moves.

Turkish markets will be closed from midday on Monday for the rest of the week for the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival.

Investors gave Finance Minister Berat Albayrak the benefit of the doubt after a conference call on Thursday at which he tried to reassure them that Turkey would emerge stronger from the currency crisis.

However, deep concerns remain about the potential for damage to the economy.

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