FILE - In this Friday, May 4, 2018 file photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, looks at his phone during a ceremony in Istanbul. Erdogan said Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2018, that his country will boycott U.S.-made electronic goods amid a diplomatic spat that has helped trigger a Turkish currency crisis. Showing no signs of backing down in the standoff, Erdogan suggested that Turkey would stop procuring U.S.-made Iphones and buy Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel instead. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

The Latest: Turkish court rules to free rights activist

August 15, 2018 - 7:56 am

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on Turkey's currency crisis (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

Amnesty International says a court in Istanbul has ruled for the release from prison of the rights group's former Turkey chairman.

The decision to release Taner Kilic on Wednesday came a day after a Turkish court similarly freed two Greek soldiers from their jail in northwest Turkey, raising hopes for improved ties between Turkey and European Union countries.

Kilic spent 14 months in prison for terror-related charges, accused of links to a network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a failed coup in 2016. His trial continues.

The EU had strongly criticized Kilic's imprisonment, expressing concerns over the rule of law in Turkey, an EU candidate country.

Kilic was among several human rights activists caught up in a massive crackdown that Turkey launched following the attempted coup.

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International's new Secretary General said: "We are overjoyed at this news. It has taken us more than a year of campaigning and struggle to get here."

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1:50 p.m.

Turkey's trade minister says increased tariffs have been imposed on 22 types of produce and goods imported from the United States, amounting to $533 million of extra duties.

Turkey announced Wednesday increased duties on U.S. products including cars, tobacco and alcohol in retaliation to U.S. sanctions and tariffs on Turkey in an on-going feud over the detention of an American pastor.

State-run Anadolu Agency quoted Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan as saying: "We have responded to the sanctions with $533 million dollars of extra tax."

She said: "the United States is an important trading partner, but it is not our only partner. We have other partners and alternative markets."

Pekcan said Turkey would continue to "protect the rights of Turkish companies and retaliate" against unjust actions by the United States.

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12:55 p.m.

A senior official says a series of measures aimed at shoring up the Turkish currency are taking effect and that he expects the improvements to continue.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters Wednesday: "We predict that measures that our institutions will continue to take will result in an even stronger normalization of the Turkish economy."

In a sign of improving ties to European Union nations, Kalin said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would hold telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Wednesday and with Emmanuel Macron of France on Thursday.

In reference to tariffs Turkey announced Wednesday on the import of some American goods, Kalin said: "Turkey does not favor an economic war, but it cannot remain unresponsive when it is attacked."

Kalin also called on the United States to respect legal process in Turkey in reference to the American pastor's continued detention.

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11:20 a.m.

Turkish media reports say a Turkish court has rejected an appeal for the release of an American pastor from detention.

Pastor Andrew Brunson's lawyer had on Tuesday renewed an appeal for the clergyman's release from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted.

Hurriyet newspaper said the court in Izmir rejected the appeal, but that a higher court would review the appeal.

Brunson is at the center of a diplomatic spat between NATO allies Turkey and the United States, which has helped trigger a Turkish currency crisis. The United States slapped financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey over his continued detention. Turkey retaliated on Wednesday with tariffs on certain US goods.

Brunson, 50, is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges, which he and the U.S. government vehemently deny.

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7:10 a.m.

Turkey is increasing tariffs on imports of series of U.S. products, escalating a feud with the United States that has helped trigger a currency crisis.

Turkey said Wednesday it was imposing extra tariffs on imports of products, including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics. The decision was announced on the Official Gazette.

Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter that the tariffs on certain products were increased "within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious economic attacks by the United States."

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