Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Turkish president: United States set deadline to release detained pastor

Melinda Barton | 13 August, 2018, 12:22

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US is destroying a strategic partnership and accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war "against the whole world including our country". "The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics", Erdogan told ruling party members in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

Ankara followed up the arrests of Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical pastor who has lived it Turkey for more than 20 years, and Serkan Golge, a Turkish-American scientist working for NASA, by imprisoning Turkish staff from various USA diplomatic missions.

As of Sunday, Erdogan showed no willingness to meet President Donald Trump's condition for mending ties: releasing a U.S evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, who's been imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years on charges of participating in a 2016 attempted coup.

With several European banks, including BBVA, Unicredit, ING and BNP Paribas, owning Turkish bank stakes, the focus has been on the fallout in the euro banking sector and euro/dollar has sunk to its lowest in over a year as a result, dropping as low as $1.1363 early on Monday before recovering to above $1.14.

'Aluminum will now be 20 per cent and Steel 50 per cent.

The ECB has concerns specifically about banks in Spain, Italy and France and their exposure to Turkey's woes, the Financial Times reported Friday.

While officials in Ankara, Istanbul and Washington have the means to stem the mayhem that sent the lira down 25 percent in the past month, the will to deploy them was absent through much of the weekend, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintaining his defiance toward the USA and financial-market orthodoxy in speeches Sunday.

All eyes will be on the lira when foreign exchange markets reopen on Monday after the weekend break.

Turkey is set for another week of financial-market turmoil with its face-off with the USA showing no sign of abating.

"The lira was in trouble and under pressure even without these heightened tensions with the US", he said, adding Turkey suffers from "a lack of market-friendly officials".

The latest dispute is over the American pastor Andrew Brunson, held in Turkey on charges of spying and links to the banned Gulen movement that the USA believes are politically motivated. With God's permission we will overcome this'.

Turkey would instead "shift to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances", said Erdogan, who in recent years has sought closer ties with Latin America, Africa and Asia.

"These are the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of an economic war waged against our country", he said.

He appeared to indicate that the entire alliance between Turkey - which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 with strong American backing - and Washington was at stake.

Erdogan had on Friday held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss economic and trade issues as well as the Syria crisis.

Last week, a Turkish delegation went to Washington and met with USA counterparts, but there was no breakthrough.

Erdogan, a self-styled "enemy of interest rates", wants cheap credit from banks to fuel growth, but investors fear the economy is overheating and could be set for a hard landing.

Erdogan had on Saturday described interest rates as a "tool of exploitation", in remarks that may not be warmly welcomed by the markets.

Turkey's spat with the United States has further weighed on the lira.