US Prepared to Add Sanctions on Turkey if Pastor Not Released

US Prepared to Add Sanctions on Turkey if Pastor Not Released

Meanwhile, state-owned banking giant The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) reportedly lent $3.6 billion to Turkey back in July - said to be a loan for the energy and transportation sector.

Brunson, an evangelical preacher from North Carolina, is now under house arrest in Izmir.

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.

The Middle East Eye reported that Turkish diplomats are ready to comply - but want something in return.

An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey will not be allowed to go free.

The Turkish government has also complained about what it calls USA support for Kurdish rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, and it has condemned the US refusal to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey has accused of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt.

The two countries have been locked in a heated crisis emanating from unjust sanctions and the actions of Trump, as Washington levied sanctions on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül for not releasing Brunson.

"Any conversations we have with China to come up with a deal and any conversations we have with Mexico would be seen as a win for the U.S." said Jeffrey Frankel, president at Stuart Frankel & Co in NY.

The Eye's report is based on comments from an anonymous diplomatic source.

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On Friday, an appeal court refused to release Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years.

But according to Middle East Eye, Turkish diplomats said they could release Brunson anyway, subject to further concessions from the U.S. which could soothe diplomatic tensions and helping alleviate the diplomatic and economic crisis.

The Turkish lira, which had stabilised against the dollar on Thursday, is falling again on Friday. Inflation is at a 14-year high, and looks to be on the brink of a major debt crisis.

Deep concerns remain about the potential for damage to the economy, however. That move caused the lira to reach a new all-time low, but prompted a response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that his country "is not crumbling".

Despite its economic woes, Turkey did this week find support from friendly Qatar, which promised to make a US$15 billion direct investment in the country.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Trump on Thursday (August 16) that he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had put sanctions on several Turkish ministers and "have more [they] are planning to do" if Brunson isn't released soon.

He also urged Brunson to serve as a "great patriot hostage" while he is jailed and criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

US President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Turkey, saying Washington will pay "nothing" to Ankara for the release of a detained American pastor.

The Committee of Concerned Scientists has compared the Brunson case to that of Serkan Golge, a NASA scientist who was arrested at the time of the coup attempt and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for alleged links to Gulen's group.

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