Turkish high court rejects appeal for United States pastor Brunson's release

The End of the United States Turkey Alliance

The End of the United States Turkey Alliance

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that sanctions were ready to be put in place if Mr Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges, was not freed.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was detained in 2016 after a government crackdown following a failed coup attempt. A senior United States official told CNN that in exchange for Turkey's release of Brunson, Israel agreed to release Ebru Ozkan, a 27-year-old Turkish woman held in Israel on suspicion of aiding Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.

The president called the charges against Brunson "phony", adding that Brunson was not a spy.

The court in the western city of Izmir ruled that Brunson, who faces 35 years in jail if convicted, would remain under house arrest, his lawyer Cem Halavurt told AFP. It also rejected an appeal for his travel ban to be lifted, Anadolu reported.

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

"I think that Turkey is so integrated into the global economic system that it has realized it can not afford to have bad ties with both the United States and Europe", Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute, explained to The Media Line. "So, we haven't seen the last of that".

Albayrak spoke Thursday with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz and they agreed to "take steps in order to reinforce economic cooperation", Albayrak's office said.

USA stocks and emerging market currencies rebounded on Thursday after China said it will hold trade talks with the United States this month and Turkey's lira continued its recovery.

More news: Trump Revokes Security Clearance for Critic and Obama Official John Brennan

A Trump tweet on Friday announcing a doubling of aluminum and steel tariffs for Turkey triggered the rout in the currency markets. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

The flailing Turkish lira rebounded slightly on Thursday, on the heels of Qatar's announcement that it would earmark $15 billion for deposits and investment projects to be made in Turkey.

Brunson, who attended Wheaton College, has lived in Turkey for more than two decades as pastor of a small local church.

On Tuesday, Pence tweeted that Brunson is innocent and "justice demands that he be released".

Can Buyuker, who works in an exchange bureau in a busy Istanbul neighbourhood, said both Trump and Erdogan were playing up to nationalist voters.

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said France and Germany are standing with Turkey in the rift with the US. "It did not. The United States reaction was far from satisfactory". "It is a shame", Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday. The White House has told the media there will be no other talks with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally unless Brunson is released.

Brunson is charged with spying for the PKK - a designated terrorist group in the USA 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.

Latest News