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Turkey's Erdogan Says Court, Not Politicians, To Decide Pastor's Fate

U.S. -- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018
NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said a Turkish court, not politicians, will decide the fate of an American pastor whose detention on terrorism charges has roiled relations between Ankara and Washington.

In an interview on Tuesday while he was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, Erdogan said Turkey will continue to purchase Iran's natural gas, despite U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

Erdogan said it was impossible for Syrian peace efforts to continue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, adding that the withdrawal of "radical groups" had already started from a new demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib region.

Erdogan also said the decision of Turkey's central bank to raise its benchmark rate was a clear sign of its independence, adding that as president he was against increasing the rates.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)