Trump attacks Turkey, vows to pay "nothing" for USA pastor's release

Turkey raises tariffs on US-origin products

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned on Thursday that the next series of sanctions against Turkey are coming "soon" unless that nation immediately gives in to demands to free jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The Turkish lira is falling against the dollar on Friday after Mnuchin's statement.

In recent days, Qatari supporters of Turkey have begun a public campaign in Doha to change their riyals into lira in an attempt to shore up the plunging Turkish currency.

He called Mr Brunson "a great patriot hostage".

He says the USA will pay nothing for his return, because he is innocent and indicated the pressure on Turkey will continue.

One currency trader said Friday's lira weakness was driven by "the new USA sanctions threat and the S&P decision, with position-closing in markets ahead of the public holiday".

The US insists the pastor, a long-time Turkish resident, is "a victim of unfair and unjust detention". He has been held in Turkey for two years and accused by local prosecutors of "terrorist" ties to the Islamist Gulen movement, which has been blamed for a failed coup in July 2016.

"They should have given him back a long time ago, and Turkey has in my opinion acted very, very badly", Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to Brunson. "Turkey and the emerging markets will face more pressure as the dollar continues to rise, and when the United States central bank raises rates at the September meeting, the pressure on the Turkish lira will increase".

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the USA of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees".

'We are not going to take it sitting down.' The row follows US-imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs on its steel and aluminum imports.

Turkish officials visited Washington last week with the idea of seeking leniency for a United States investigation into a Turkish bank, which a source told the Eye fell through, but opened a dialogue.

Turkey has found itself in an economic chokehold as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuses to allow the central bank to raise interest rates, thereby steadying inflation.

United States sanctions and the declining lira created panic in the markets but on the streets, many Turks appeared to support the government's retaliatory measures.

She explained to The Media Line that Turkey's economic growth under Erdogan was partly predicated on the fact that investors viewed him as a stabilizing force.

Erdogan has remained defiant in the face of the crisis with Washington, saying Turkey could turn to new alternative markets.

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