U.S. threatens further Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

U.S. threatens further Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

Already existing tariffs on cars were also doubled to discourage business with the United States.

"The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

The tit-for-tat measures are part of a broader dispute between the two countries over the fate of an American citizen, Andrew Brunson, who is being prosecuted by Turkish authorities on terrorism-related charges.

The growing tensions between Washington and Ankara have sent the Turkish currency tumbling to historic lows.

The lira had fallen by more than 40% since the beginning of the year before a rally earlier this week that buoyed investors, which was sparked by moves from the central bank to prevent speculators undermining local commercial banks.

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. The currency picked up 6 percent and strengthened briefly at just under 6 to the dollar.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that the tariff hikes were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the USA administration".

The lira went into a tailspin after a diplomatic spat with the USA over a detained pastor in Turkey.

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The U.S. dollar has risen against major currencies for several months, with the dollar index.DXY up almost 8 percent over the last four months. Turkey's exports to the United States previous year amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

Al-Shehri said Ankara appeared to have blackmailed Qatar into supporting it.

According to the Hurriyet Daily, a significant number of importers have begun to withdraw their short and long-term orders after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal to boycott USA electronic products on Tuesday. Brunson's lawyer told CBS News that a higher court was still considering the appeal and could overrule that decision. If the Turkish government does not eventually agree to US demands and release him early, Brunson could spend 35 years in prison.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the U.S. had seen "no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong". But the White House does not plan to lift the metals tariffs, which Sanders said were a national security issue.

Some videos have shown dollars burning, however it's not clear whether the bills are real or fake.

Turkey's biggest mobile phone importing companies have cancelled their iPhone orders as Turkish citizens join a move to boycott USA products.

A court in the western Turkish city of Izmir rejected a new appeal to free Brunson on Wednesday, the state television TRT reported. "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira".

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