July 18, 2020 | News | No Comments
A Turkish court has rejected a new appeal to free US pastor Andrew Brunson, as Ankara doubled down on its row with the US by increasing tariffs on US products.
The court in the western city of Izmir ruled that Mr Brunson, who faces 35 years in jail on terror and espionage charges, will remain under house arrest.
Mr Brunson’s jail term had been converted to house detention for health reasons.
His detention has soured relations with Washington, with Donald Trump, the US president, doubling aluminium and steel tariffs for Turkey in punitive actions against Ankara’s refusal to release Mr Brunson.
The crisis has sent the Turkish currency into free fall since Friday.
"The president has a great deal of frustration (about) the pastor not being released," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.
The Turkish government said it will impose extra tariffs on imports of products including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics. Tariffs on American cars were doubled to 120 percent while tariff on alcoholic drinks to 140 percent.
Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter that the tariffs on certain products were increased "within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the deliberate economic attacks by the United States."
Turkey nears point of no return as lira crisis spreads to the banking system
Turkish trade minister Ruhsar Pekcan says the doubling of customs tarrifs on some imported U.S. products would amount to $533 million (£420million)
The tariffs come a day after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods, singling out Apple’s iPhones.
He suggested Turks would buy local or Korean phones instead, although it was unclear how he intended to enforce the boycott.
The Turkish lira has dropped to record lows in recent weeks, having fallen some 42 percent so far this year.
It recovered slightly, by 4 percent to around 6.12 lira per dollar Wednesday, after the government took steps to shore up the currency by reducing the daily limit in bank foreign currency swap transactions.