Turkish president: United States set deadline to release detained pastor

Turkish delegation returns home after meeting in US

Turkey and the United States are now experiencing rocky relations after the US imposed sanctions last Wednesday on two Turkish ministers over the continued detention of USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges and up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

Turkey was not a country to agree to such requests, he told members of his party in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

He also said it was a pity that Washington chose Brunson over Turkey, its partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and in an opinion piece published in the New York Times, he warned the United States that Ankara had other alternatives as allies.

"There was some hope that maybe they'd step back from the brink and you'd see a re-establishment of central bank independence", he said.

Mr Erdogan also remained defiant, as he urged the Turkish people to exchange foreign currency or gold for lira.

President Donald J Trump tweeted on Friday that "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" adding that he had "just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats in years over the almost two-year detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the USA, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country's lira currency amounted to a "political plot" against Turkey. If there are euros, take these out.

Following the announcement, the Turkish lira also hit record lows at 20 percent to the dollar, in the midst of a financial panic about the country's economic health.

"They have been trying to achieve what they failed to do through provocations and a coup attempt with money now", he said.

The managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Michael Singh, reported that, "Although Pastor Brunson's case is the most visible of bilateral irritants at the moment, tensions in the US-Turkey relationship are manifold and have been accumulating for years".

Erdogan appeared unworried by the punitive measures imposed by the USA, saying Turkey could turn to other partners and again terming the crisis an "economic war".

It is possible that Trump cited the lira's decline as a mere pretense for pressuring Turkey to release the American pastor.

A financial shockwave ripped through Turkey on Friday, when its currency nosedived on concerns about its economic policies and a dispute with the US, which President Donald Trump stoked further with a promise to double tariffs on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

"Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy", he wrote.

We look the issue straining relations between the USA and Turkey.

The currency is currently down 13.5% against the U.S. dollar, after a brief 20% fall, resulting from a Trump tweet that declared, "Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%", and concluded: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!".

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