Turkey court rejects United States pastor Andrew Brunson release appeal

Turkish lira firms before minister's presentation

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal to release American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest, broadcaster Haberturk said on Friday.

Brunson is charged with spying for the PKK - a designated terrorist group in the U.S. and Turkey - and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey during which 251 people died and thousands were injured.

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.

"They have not proven to be a good friend", Trump said of Turkey during the Cabinet meeting. "He's not a spy". His transfer to house arrest came after Trump asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assist in Brunson's release, Israeli and USA officials told CNN at the time. We'll see what happens.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen will meet United States representatives, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that talks will take place in Washington on August 21 and 22.

A Trump tweet on Friday announcing a doubling of aluminum and steel tariffs for Turkey triggered the rout in the currency markets.

Many countries have been the target of similar USA trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

"We have stood together and will continue to do so", he said, making clear the high-level meeting was meant to communicate unequivocal support for Turkey at a critical juncture.

The statement said that the two ministers made a decision to work closely to develop cooperation between Turkey and France and agreed to meet in Paris on August 27.

But Washington's move has sent Turkey's financial markets into a tailspin: the Turkish lira plummeted more than 18 per cent at one point last Friday to a record low against the USA dollar.

That makes its decreasing currency even more problematic because businesses will have to spend more in liras to pay back debts that were given in dollars or euros.

Following the Qatar news, the lira firmed briefly to 5.8699 from 6.04 to the dollar, before easing back to 6.0500 by 1658 GMT.

U.S. support for Kurdish rebel groups fighting Islamic State fighters in northern Syria is another major difficulty, given Turkey's battle against a Kurdish insurgency in its own country.

Whatever action the United States does take, economists said it looked likely to cause more pain for Turkish assets in the immediate future.

Ankara, for its part, wants Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in Pennsylvania who Turkish authorities say orchestrated the 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people lost their lives.



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