Qatar pledges $15 billion to invest in Turkey

Mae Love
August 17, 2018

Brunson, a pastor who is a long time resident in Turkey, is alleged by the government to have links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, both of which are accused of being involved in 2016's failed coup against Erdogan.

The North Carolina native's case has rapidly soured relations between Washington and Ankara, with the two sides trading increasingly heated rhetoric and retaliatory tariffs.

US President Donald Trump Mr Trump announced on Twitter last week that he had authorised a doubling of duties on aluminium and steel imported from Turkey, putting unprecedented economic pressure on Ankara. "He's not a spy". He did not elaborate on what measures the USA is willing to take if Turkey continues to play hardball over Brunson.

The Trump administration said it would use a section of United States law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds to impose the increased duties.

Worldwide investors have been anxious by Turkey's high levels of foreign debt and Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

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 Trump administration has already sanctioned two Turkish leaders over the pastor's imprisonment.

Mr Trump said: "They want to hold our wonderful pastor".

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JP Morgan said moves by Turkish authorities showed they were committed to stabilising the currency with technical measures such as restricting foreign exchange swaps and cancelling repo auctions to push up the average cost of bank funding.

Turkey has been hit by a currency crisis fuelled by a heated row with the United States.

Turkey has responded by declaring that it will raise tariffs on a number of USA imports, including cars, tobacco and spirits.

President Trump tweeted Thursday evening calling for Brunson's release, saying that the U.S.

"Turkey has alternatives", he said.

Investors said Albayrak's conference call would test whether Turkey can persuade markets that its monetary policy is not hostage to political influence. Referring to imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump said "they have a great Christian pastor there, he's a very innocent man".

The lira's collapse has plunged the entirety of the emerging market space into chaos, with contagion causing the likes of the South African rand, the Argentine peso, and the Indonesian rupiah, to slump in response.

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty. The lira's sharp decline has sparked fears in the worldwide community of a Turkish economic crisis.

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