Pastor Brunson appeal for house arrest release rejected by Turkish court

US sanctions imposed on Turkey have triggered a crash in the value of the lira

US sanctions imposed on Turkey have triggered a crash in the value of the liraLEFTERIS PITARAKIS AP

One of Turkey's high criminal courts has rejected USA pastor Andrew Brunson's request to be released from house arrest and permitted to travel overseas, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolou news agency.

Brunson, an evangelical Christian pastor originally from North Carolina but a longtime resident of Turkey, was accused by the Turkish government of terrorist involvement and playing a role in the Turkish military's 2016 attempted coup to overthrow the government.

The diplomatic spat is also taking a toll on Turkey's currency, the lira.

The Turkish Lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the United States dollar since the start of the year.

Turkey's currency recovered slightly after the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released various high-profile prisoners; this, after the lira plummeted to a new low last week when U.S. President Donald Trump increased tariffs on the import of Turkish aluminum and steel.

"We have more that we are planning to do if they don't release him quickly", Mnuchin said.

Trump on Saturday described the Protestant clergyman, who runs a small church in the western city of Izmir, as a "great patriot", saying he was being held "hostage".

The Turkish lira is falling against the dollar on Friday after Mnuchin's statement.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen will meet US representatives, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that talks will take place in Washington on August 21 and 22.

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One currency trader said Friday's lira weakness was driven by "the new USA sanctions threat and the S&P decision, with position-closing in markets ahead of the public holiday".

Dashing hopes for a quick solution to the dispute, a Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal for the evangelical pastor's release from house detention.

He also appeared to acknowledge that he was disappointed that Turkey did not release Brunson after the United States helped negotiate the release of a Turkish national being held in Israel.

Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call Thursday to foster trade ties, a Turkish presidential source said.

One currency trader said on Friday's lira weakness was driven by "the new United States sanctions threat and the S&P decision, with position-closing in markets ahead of the public holiday".

"We got somebody out for him", Trump said.

"He's in a terribly unsafe situation because the Brunsons are portrayed in the Turkish press as people who are against the state of Turkey", she told CBN News. The currency was supported by Turkey's plan to cut spending, support for the banks and Qatar's pledge to invest $15bn in the country.

Turkey's finance minister sparked a recovery in the lira yesterday after he addressed thousands of global investors on a conference call.

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