Update 2: The Turkish Lira has retraced some more of its small bounce following escalating rhetoric from Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu tweet that “Noone dictates Turkey. We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception.”
Noone dictates Turkey. We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception.
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) July 26, 2018
We await “fire and fury” from Trump.
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Update 1: and now Trump joins the fray, threatening “large sanctions” if the pastor is not released:
The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
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Yesterday we reported that Tuesday’s Congressional vote to block sale of Lockheed Martin’s advanced F-35 stealth fighter to Turkey may already be having an effect as less than 12 hours after the House and Senate adopted the legislation, American Pastor Andrew Brunson was released from a Turkish prison and placed into house arrest.
US pastor Andrew Brunson has left jail and is on his way to his way to his home in the city of Izmir, according to Turkish TV station A Haber. He has spent almost two years behind bars on espionage and terror charges. Will remain under house arrest. pic.twitter.com/dFxjuuat6k
— Laura Pitel (@laurapitel) July 25, 2018
He will be confined to his residence in Turkey where he can have interaction with his family and move freely within the confines; however, he will continue to proceed through his trial in the Turkish legal system.
Brunson’s family was reportedly “elated” by the move, according to media statements. His wife is said to be waiting for his release from a prison in the western part of the country.
However, some were displeased, and Bloomberg reports, VP Mike Pence has threatened to sanction Turkey is pastor Bruson is not released.
- PENCE TO ERDOGAN: RELEASE PASTOR OR PREPARE FOR CONSEQUENCES
- PENCE SAYS U.S. TO SANCTION TURKEY IF PASTOR NOT RELEASED: AP
- PENCE THREATENS `SIGNIFICANT SANCTIONS’ ON TURKEY
If Turkey does not take immediate action to free Pastor Andrew Brunson and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until this innocent man of faith is free. pic.twitter.com/GM9WohpMRm
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) July 26, 2018
In kneejerk reaction, the Turkish Lira tumbled as low as 4.88 from 4.80 before the news, down as much as 2.3%
In sympathy, all other Turkish assets are also sliding:
- ISHARES MSCI TURKEY ETF DOWN AS MUCH AS 3.3% ON SANCTION REPORT
As a reminder, Turkey is a NATO ally and as such any sanction would likely be the first ever in which the US has put an economic blockade against another NATO member state, which however is that in all but name, considering Erdogan’s recent sharp pivot toward Russia and Vladimir Putin.