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Turkey Edges Towards Recession in Tariff Spat With US
Turkey’s battered lira weakened more than 6 percent against the dollar on Friday, Aug. 17, after a U.S. warning that Ankara should expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over the detained American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson. Brunson, called a “great patriot hostage” by President Donald Trump, has spent the better part of the past two years in Turkish prisons or other forms of detention, over alleged links to outlawed political groups. The dispute over his release has put the two NATO allies at loggerheads, sparking an escalating tariff tit-for-tat. Experts warn that the currency crisis risks infecting the broader economy, and question the unconventional way Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to tackle the fallout. The threat of new U.S. sanctions U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting on Aug. 16, that sanctions were ready to be put in place if Brunson, who faces terrorism charges, was not freed. “We have more that we are planning to do if they don’t release him [Brunson] quickly,” Mnuchin said, BBC reported.