Turkey court rejects U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson release appeal

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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.

Upholding a lower court's decision earlier this week, the higher court also ruled against lifting a travel ban imposed on Mr Brunson.

Ankara has accused Brunson of being linked to the Gulen movement, which it says was responsible for the failed coup attempt in 2016.

Turkey has been rocked in recent days by a sharp decline in the value of its lira after US President Donald Trump tweeted last Friday that Washington was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Ankara. "He's not a spy".

Trump later tweeted that the USA "will pay nothing" for the release "but we are cutting back on Turkey!".

"Turkey will emerge stronger from these [currency] fluctuations", he said on Thursday as he addressed foreign investors and economists from the US, Europe and Asia via a conference call in a bid to soothe the markets. We are not going to take it sitting down.

Global investors have been anxious by Turkey's high levels of foreign debt and Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

The lira, still down 34% against the dollar this year, firmed to 5.7700 by 12pm Irish time from a close of 5.95.

The pastor row is one of several between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, including diverging interests in Syria and USA objections to Ankara's ambition to buy Russian defence systems, that have contributed to instability in Turkish financial markets.

He later tweeted: "Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years". Erdogan previously suggested a swap in which Brunson is released in exchange for Gulen, though USA officials have said Turkey must present convincing evidence for any extradition proceeding to be considered.

Brunson, an Evangelical pastor residing in the coastal province of Izmir, is standing trial in Turkey over terrorism charges.

The court ruling comes amid a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the U.S. that has seen tariffs from both sides pile up and an exchange of threats of further sanctions.

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.

The ongoing case has caused a deterioration in U.S.

The 50-year-old faces 35 years in prison, which would amount to a life sentence.

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