Erdogan: Father Andrew Branson's fate in the hands of the court

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Turkish President Tayyep Erdogan said the fate of American pastor Andrew Branson was in the hands of the court. He said the fate of the priest who caused the Turkish-American tension was not in his hands.


"This is a matter of justice, Brunson has been arrested on terrorism charges, there will be another testimony on 12 October and we don't know what the court and politicians will decide will not say anything about the court," Erdogan said, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Wednesday (26/9).

On Monday (9/24), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hoped Turkey would release Father Branson this month. The preacher was transferred to house arrest after being detained for 21 months.

If found guilty Brunson can be imprisoned with a maximum confinement of 35 years. He denied involvement in terrorism and Erdogan's coup attempt in 2016.

"As president, I have no right to give orders to release him, our judiciary is independent, so let's wait and see what the court decides," Erdogan said.

US President Donald Trump is angry with Brunson's detention. He also passed the tariff on the import of aluminum and steel from Turkey in August. While Turkey responded by raising import duties on cars, alcohol and tobacco from the US.

The value of the Turkish currency, the lira lost 40 percent before the US dollar this year. This made Turkey experience the first financial crisis since Erdogan took office. The US economic attack also caused estrangement between the two countries.

"The Brunson case has nothing to do with the Turkish economy, the current economic challenges are exaggerated compared to what they should be and Turkey will go through this challenge with our own resources," Erdogan said.

The Turkish Central Bank raised their benchmark interest rate to 625 points this month, enough to boost lira values ​​and possibly reduce investor concerns over Erdogan's monetary policy. But Erdogan said he opposed the decision of the Turkish Central Bank.

"This shows an independent central bank, as president, I am opposed to raising interest rates and I repeat my footing here," Erdogan said.

Erdogan confirmed that the decision was entirely owned by the central bank. He can only hope and pray that the decision is in line with expectations because high interest rates can increase investment.

Lira rose slightly on Wednesday (9/26) morning. The strengthening was after Erdogan's statement about the independence of the central bank. To restore the country's economy Erdogan plans to fly to Germany on September 28.

"We want to completely abandon past problems behind and create a warm environment between Turkey and Germany as before," Erdogan said.
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