Turkey's Erdogan vows country will defy economic threats as U.S. tensions escalate


Turkey won't change its course due to economic pressure from outside, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said August 18 before the Sixth Congress of the Turkish Justice and Development Party, Turkish media reported.

Turkey is calling for the U.S.to extradite a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused engineering a 2016 coup attempt.

On Friday, Turkey's battered lira weakened 3 percent after a Turkish court rejected Brunson's appeal for release, drawing a stiff rebuke from Trump, who said the United States would not take the detention "sitting down".

In a brief statement, China's foreign ministry said: "China believes that Turkey has the ability to overcome the temporary economic difficulties, and hopes the relevant sides can ease their differences via dialogue".

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly called for his release, while Erdogan has said the USA should respect Turkey's judicial process. Lawmakers in Washington passed a bill effectively delaying the shipping of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

Brunson was charged with terror offenses by a Turkish court and has been held since October 2016. Mr Erdogan said: "Today some people are trying to threaten us through the economy, through interest rates, foreign exchange, investment and inflation". Upholding a lower court's decision earlier this week, it also ruled against lifting a travel ban imposed on Brunson.

Last Wednesday, in retaliation, Turkey increased tariffs on several US-origin products, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars. In the beginning of his campaign, Trump vowed to help the famous motorcycle company lower the export tariffs to Europe, however most European countries in response to increasing aluminum and steel tariffs have in fact doubled and tripled the tariffs for Harley Davidson, making the motorcycles too expensive to export.

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"Do you think the lira will gain against the dollar if Brunson is released?" Erdogan previously suggested a swap in which Brunson is released in exchange for Gulen, though USA officials have said Turkey must present convincing evidence for any extradition proceeding to be considered. Turkey's dollar bonds fell, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkish debt rose.

Trump added: "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has bristled at such US pressure.

In a tweet on Thursday, Trump urged Brunson to serve as a "great patriot hostage" while he is jailed and criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

The fight between Turkey and the USA has escalated in recent weeks, with Brunson's detainment as a flashpoint.

The Turkish lira has plunged to record lows in recent weeks over an unprecedented spat with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States over the detention of an American clergyman, Andrew Brunson, charged with espionage and terrorism.