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Lira firms after US remarks on expected meeting over Brunson with Turkish officials

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Turkey’s currency firmed more than 3 percent against the dollar on Monday, boosted after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expected discussions with Turkish officials this week about a US pastor on trial in Turkey, Reuters reported.

Turkey’s lira has tumbled 40 percent against the dollar this year, hit by concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s grip on monetary policy and, more recently, a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington.

Pompeo, speaking in New York, said he expects US talks with Turkish officials to take place this week to discuss the detained pastor, Andrew Brunson.

The lira firmed as far as 6.0575 against the dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 6.2900.

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Sunday, Turkish authorities are sending signals that Brunson could be released next month when he appears in court on Oct. 12.

A Turkish judge could free Brunson when he appears in court in October — but only if the US stops putting pressure on the country to send the American back to the US, according to Turkish officials, the WSJ said.

After a Turkish court put Brunson under house arrest following almost two years of incarceration on terrorism charges, the US administration sanctioned two Turkish ministers and doubled the tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey.

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