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Turkey's Currency Rattled as Trump Sanctions Regime for Holding US Pastor Brunson Captive

08-10-2018

Turkey's currency fell Friday after its economy was rattled by the United States' move to slap the country with more tariffs.

President Donald Trump broke the news on social media that he authorized the doubling of existing steel and aluminum duties on imports from Turkey.

"I have 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! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%," President Trump tweeted. " Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

"As he stated, the president has authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey," White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said.

"Section 232 tariffs are imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security as defined in Section 232, independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter," she explained.

The Turkish lira fell 13 percent to 6.51 per dollar.

The currency is down 40 percent just this year, shaking international investors' confidence in the country.

The news comes as tensions between the US and Turkey continue to grow over the NATO ally's continued detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

The 50-year-old American pastor, who has been charged with "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups," was moved out of prison last month and placed under house arrest.

Turkish authorities arrested Brunson in December 2016, claiming that he was a spy and was linked to a failed plot to overthrow the government.

Brunson, who denies the accusations, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

President Trump called Brunson an "innocent man of faith" who should be released immediately.

Hoping to put pressure on the NATO ally to free the pastor, the White House sanctioned two top Turkish government officials.

The sanctions will freeze the US assets of Turkey's minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and its minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu.

The penalties also bar any US transactions with the two men.

Despite that move by Washington, Brunson has yet to be released.

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