Turkey's president says country will defy economic threats

Spat between Ankara and Washington is over two CIA operatives

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will not "surrender" to the United States under the sanctions imposed by the U.S. over the detention of an American pastor, accusing Washington of launching an "attempted economic coup" against Ankara.

"Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years".

Turkey's lira fell again after trade minister Ruhsar Pekcan said her government would respond to any new trade duties, which Donald Trump threatened in an overnight tweet.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this photo illustration taken February 12, 2018.

A Turkish court on Friday turned down another appeal to free the pastor in the third such rejection, his lawyer said.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's has consolidated power over the central bank, and pushed for it to refrain from raising interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

Mr Trump's comments came after a court in Izmir province rejected an appeal to release Brunson from house arrest, saying evidence was still being collected and the pastor posed a flight risk, according to a copy of the court ruling.

S&P said the downgrade of the debt rating to "B+" "reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira" which will undermine Turkey s economy. Turkey retaliated with tariffs on some USA imports and said it would boycott US electronic goods.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on two Turkish government ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.

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Turkey is struggling to stabilize its currency after it plunged to a record low in a crisis that spurred fears of bankruptcies and a spillover effect in other emerging markets if Turkish firms can't pay back high foreign debt. "Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the USA administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", the country's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said in a pair of tweets.

Despite the political tensions, the lira rebounded some 6 percent on Wednesday, strengthening to around 6.0 to the USA dollar.

Erdogan has recently held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Pastor Andrew Brunson was swept up in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in 2016.

"Turkey - they have not proven to be a good friend, they have a great Christian pastor there, a very good man", he said.

Turkey has been pushing back against USA pressure, insisting that it will determine its own economic policies and choose its own trade partners.

Turkey has repeatedly criticized the USA for not condemning the coup attempt two years ago.

The Turkish lira has plunged to record lows in recent weeks over an unprecedented spat with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States over the detention of an American clergyman, Andrew Brunson, charged with espionage and terrorism.

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