Amid mounting diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Washington and Ankara are exchanging threats.

Amid mounting diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Washington and Ankara are exchanging threats.

Washington _ Agencies

Turkey on Friday vowed to respond if the United States decided to implement its threats to tighten sanctions against it unless it released a US priest, which has greatly affected the Turkish lira.

As the Turkish government seeks to reassure markets about the durability of its economy, US Treasury Secretary Stephen Manchin warned that the United States would impose additional sanctions on Ankara if it did not release pastor Andrew Branson.

US president Donald Trump also criticized Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for "acting very badly" and said it could face more punitive measures.

Trump said outside the White House:  "Turkey has been a problem for a long time. She did not behave as a friend, "just hours after a Turkish court refused to release US pastor Andrew Bronson, arrested in Turkey since October 2016.

"They should have returned it a long time ago," Trump said. Turkey has acted in my opinion very badly. "

"We did not see the end of the situation. We will not remain silent, Turkey cannot imprison any of our people. "

"We have echoed the US sanctions in conformity with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and we will continue to do so," Turkish Commerce Minister Ruhhalan Bakgan was quoted by Anatolia news agency as saying on Friday.

The Turkish judiciary on Friday rejected a new petition for the release of the US priest after a similar request was made on Wednesday, and his lawyer Jim Halavert told AFP that the court had ordered Branson to remain under house arrest, stressing that he would appeal the decision after 15 days.

While the diplomatic crisis between the two allied countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does not seem to calm, the value of the Turkish lira declined again Friday after it slightly improved this week.

At approximately 09:30, the Turkish lira lost about 5 percent of its value in front of the dollar, and hence the profits it made yesterday, and fell to 6, 1246 pounds to the dollar.

Pastor Branson, who is the hub of the diplomatic storm between the two countries, was placed under house arrest last month after being arrested for more than a year and a half for spying and "terrorist" activities, which he denies.

On Thursday evening, US president Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that "Turkey has used the United States for years." They are holding our magnificent Christian pastor, who will now ask him to represent our country as a national hostage. " "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man," said Trump.

Turkish Finance minister Bayraq President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday sought to reassure the markets during a closed-circuit conference with thousands of investors.

He said his country would "get stronger" from the lira crisis, which has been devalued by 40 percent against the dollar this year.

He said his country was not in contact with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible aid plan, stressing that Ankara would not resort to capital control.

In the case of "capital Economicex", the minister´s performance "was not very convincing".

"It appears that the authorities have done the minimum necessary," the source added in a memo to his customers.

During the conference, "the minister did not take into account the reason for the erosion of confidence in Turkey."

Economists remain concerned about the dispute between Ankara and Washington, as well as Erdogan´s dominance of the economy.

The markets reacted sharply to the refusal of the central Bank of Turkey to increase its interest rates last month despite a decline in the pound and an increase in inflation. Erdogan, in favor of registering growth at any cost, opposes this idea.

At the height of these financial volatility, Turkey Wednesday received important support. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, promised during talks with Erdogan in Ankara that his country would invest 15 billion dollars in Turkey.

In an effort to re-establish bridges with Europe, Erdogan on Wednesday telephoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Thursday with his French counterpart Emmanuel McRae. Ankara said Erdogan and McRae had stressed "the importance of strengthening economic relations" between their countries.

The Turkish judiciary on Tuesday ordered the release of two Greek soldiers and an Amnesty International director in Turkey in two unexpected resolutions after the two issues led to tension in relations between Ankara and European countries