Turkey court rejects new appeal to release detained US pastor amid escalating row
A new appeal to free US pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detention has sparked a severe crisis in relations between Turkey and the United States, was rejected by a Turkish court on Wednesday, local media reported.
The court in the western city of Izmir rejected the appeal and ruled that Brunson will remain under house arrest, the state television TRT reported.
Brunson is on trial on espionage and terror-related charges related to a failed 2016 coup attempt, which he and the US government adamantly deny.
But his detention has led to a severe crisis between the NATO allies that has escalated rapidly in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods after Washington announced punitive sanctions over the detention of an American pastor.
Hours later, Ankara said it would increase tariffs on imports of certain US products in response to American sanctions that caused the value of the lira to plunge, a decree published Wednesday said.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the US administration".
The move comes after US President Donald Trump announced that the United States was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as the two NATO allies row over the detention of the American pastor.
The tensions and the tariff hike by the United States have caused the Turkish lira to bleed value, fanning fears the country is on the verge of an economic crisis that could spillover into Europe.
Erdogan has repeatedly described the crisis as an "economic war" that Turkey will win.
The Brunson case is just one of many bones of contention between Turkey and the US, ranging from Syria to Ankara's increasingly cosy relationship with Moscow.
Erdogan admitted in remarks on Tuesday that the Turkish economy had problems - including a widening current account deficit and inflation of almost 16 percent.