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Turkish lira weakens after Trump says 'no concessions'

August 21, 2018 at 9:33 am

US President Donald Trump [Wikipedia]

The lira weakened against the dollar in thin holiday trade on Tuesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump ruled out agreeing to any demands from Turkey to gain the release of a detained U.S. pastor.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Trump said he was not concerned that his tough stance could end up hurting European and emerging market economies.

The lira stood at 6.16 against the U.S. currency at 0707 GMT, down from a close of 6.0865 on Monday, when Turkish markets entered a holiday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival which continues for the rest of this week.

READ: US hopes spat with Turkey over pastor resolved ‘in coming days’

Turkish government officials did not comment on Trump’s remarks when they spoke after prayers to mark the start of the festival.

Trump said that, after he helped persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen, he thought Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would then release pastor Andrew Brunson, who denies Turkey’s allegations that he was involved in a plot against Erdogan two years ago.

“I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions,” Trump said.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of a nationalist party allied with Erdogan’s AK Party, told reporters: “We have no business with those who love Brunson more than us”.

Erdogan, who had been expected to speak to reporters after morning prayers, spoke by telephone with soldiers stationed near the border with Iraq to send them Eid al-Adha greetings.

“I believe that as long as you stand tall our flag will not fall, our call to prayer will not fall silent and this homeland of ours will not be divided,” Hurriyet newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.

Turkey has demanded that the United States hand over Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric in the United States who Ankara says orchestrated the coup plot, but Washington has balked at this.

On Monday, Erdogan promising Turks would not be brought “to their knees” by the crisis that has battered the lira.