Turkey increases tariffs on some USA imports

Randal Sanchez
August 15, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country will ban U.S. electronics after a diplomatic feud pushed it into a currency crisis.

"There could be a knock-on effect and there could be contagion to other countries in emerging markets and the Trump administration being so quick to increase sanctions on Turkey you have seen them do the same thing to Russian Federation".

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.

Details about the U.S-Turkey crisis have been unfolding over the past few days: a pastor as stage hostage, frozen assets for ministers on both sides, tariffs on Turkish exports of aluminum and steel to the US, a Trump tweet here, a fiery Erdogan speech there.

"Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the government of Qatar is now overlooking the situation in Turkey and did not provide the necessary political and humanitarian support... is this how a friendship should be?" the newspaper's report said.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have spiraled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held for 21 months in a Turkish prison until his transfer to house arrest last month - a move Washington dismissed as insufficient. If Brunson's petition is not granted, his next court hearing is scheduled for October 12.

Brunson has lived in Turkey for 23 years, but his case has been taken up as a cause for the USA government.

The US doubled tariffs last week over Turkey's refusal to extradite a US pastor who is imprisoned there.

His remarks came after the lira's plunge had turned into a rout toward the end of last week after US President Donald Trump announced the doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.

Erdogan also said Turkey was boycotting USA electronic products.

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Investors seemed to look through the fiery rhetoric, pushing the lira off record lows on confirmation that Turkish and USA government officials met on Monday.

The currency TRYTOM=D3 has lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the currency.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Turkish business groups called on the government to institute tighter monetary policy in order to combat the currency crisis.

Qatar and Turkey are bound by strategic relations at the political, economic and military fronts.

Praising the bilateral relations between the two countries, Cavusoglu said the national flag carrier Turkish Airlines would launch flights to Port Sudan.

Turkey's ambassador to the US, Serdar Kilic, tweeted comments from the US Chamber of Commerce which has warned that the tit-for-tat tariffs and boycotts "threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades".

Erdoğan has accused the U.S. of waging economic war against his country and has vowed not to back down.

Also on the military front, Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defence system has irked the US and other alliance members in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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