Turkey government on Friday threatened to respond if the US levied further sanctions over the detention of an American pastor which has sparked a diplomatic standoff and battered the Turkish currency.
As Turkey’s government sought to reassure markets after the lira had been sent into a tailspin by the deepening spat, Washington said the next raft of sanctions could be on the way.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Thursday that the United States would impose more sanctions unless pastor Andrew Brunson, described by US President Donald Trump as a “hostage”, was released.
Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan responded to the new threat on Friday.
“We’ve already responded based on the World Trade Organisation rules and will continue to do so,” Pekcan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Brunson’s detention since October 2016 on terror-related charges has soured relations between the two NATO allies and sent the lira tumbling.
The lira, which earlier this week traded at well over seven to the dollar, had rebounded slightly over the last three days but on Friday it lost nearly five percent of its value and was quoted at 6.1 against the dollar.
President Trump on Thursday tweeted: “Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage.”
“We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey,” he said.