Court rejects appeal for American pastor's release from detention, Turkish media says

The Turkish currency has lost about 40 percent of its value this year against the USA dollar. It recovered a bit, by 4 percent to around 6.12 lira per dollar Wednesday, after the government took steps to shore up the currency by reducing the daily limit in bank foreign currency swap transactions.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the U.S. had seen "no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong".

At 10:48 a.m. (1437 GMT), an index that tracks the dollar against six major currencies was up 0.16 percent at 96.885 after hitting 96.984 earlier, the highest since June 2017.

On Wednesday, the lira traded at 6.4125 to the US dollar, weakening from a close of 6.3577 a day earlier.

A treasury desk trader at one bank said this showed relations with the European Union could recover "while tense relations continue with the US".

"Remarkable turnaround", Tim Ash, Bluebay Asset Management senior emerging markets analyst wrote in a client note.

The lira rallied to 6.53 against the dollar on Tuesday, buoyed perhaps by news of a forthcoming conference call between the Turkish finance minister and about 1,000 investors.

"What is happening in Turkey goes far beyond the United States and the United States' recent policies and impositions of various policies and mechanisms", Nauert said.

In retaliation, Turkey is now hiking tariffs on American cars to 120 percent and increasing duties on alcohol to 140 percent. Coal, fruit, rice, and other USA products will also be hit by higher tariffs. The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a tweet.

The lira lost a quarter of its value this month as Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports and slapped sanctions on two ministers.

Apple has 22 percent of the smartphone market in Turkey, where 11.4 million units were sold a year ago, according to Ramazan Yavuz, research manager at IDC consultancy company. Turkey's exports to the United States a year ago amounted to $8.7-billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

Andrew Brunson has been at the heart of the ongoing fight after the USA sanctioned two top Turkish officials for his continued detention, and Turkey's vow to retaliate, even as its currency plummets.

President Trump has since intervened and called for the pastor's immediate release.

A court in the western Turkish city of Izmir rejected a new appeal to free Brunson on Wednesday, the state television TRT reported. An upper court had yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters.

Brunson was arrested during Erdogan's broad crackdown on political opposition after an attempted coup in July 2016.

It was unclear whether Erdogan's call for Turks to sell dollars would be widely heeded, but a Turkish news agency said traders in Istanbul's historic Eminonu district converted $100,000 into lira on Tuesday.

U.S. electronics like the iPhone may be banned in Turkey after the country's president declared a boycott Tuesday.

  • Zachary Reyes