Pres. Trump: We Won't Pay For Pastor's Release Because He's Innocent

Muriel Colon
August 17, 2018

Trump later said in a tweet the United States "will pay nothing" for Mr Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!".

Local Turkish social media has been awash this week with footage of people smashing their iPhones in protest of US President Donald Trump and his recent sanctions on Turkey.

U.S. Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin earlier said the U.S. could put more sanctions on Turkey.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump prefaced Mnuchin's remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend to the US.

"They want to hold our wonderful pastor", Trump added.

Last month, at Brunson's third court hearing in almost two years, U.S. officials thought they had brokered a deal to free him by pressuring Israel to release a Turkish citizen imprisoned there.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been at loggerheads for months over a host of diplomatic issues, namely Turkey's refusal to release an American pastor and differences over their handling of the Syrian conflict.

In this file photograph taken on 25 July 2018, U.S. pastor Andrew Craig Brunson is escorted by Turkish plain clothes police officers to his house in Izmir.


Another steep decline in the Turkish lira on Friday pushed emerging market equities lower and kept other world markets cautious, overshadowing hopes that an upcoming U.S.

The U.S. economy is 25 times larger than Turkey's, based on nominal GDP.

Turkey is also seemingly on the brink of a major debt crisis, as a weakening lira makes it harder for Ankara to pay its global dues.

Qatar poured funds into the country the same day Turkey doubled tariffs on some US imports, such as cars, alcohol and tobacco, one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of iPhones.

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, and his Qatari counterpart Ali Sharif Al-Emadi were present at the talks in the capital Ankara.

Although Qatar has now pledged $15 billion it has not actually paid anything, and it may not be enough to solve Turkey's economic problems.

While Turkey's economy is fairly unimportant globally, the country itself holds an important strategic position as a buffer zone between the West and the Middle East, and as such has outsized influence in foreign policy circles.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some US goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

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