Turkey will emerge stronger from lira crisis despite row with U.S.: minister

17 August, 2018, 16:42 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Turkey denies American pastor’s appeal decides to hit the US with tariffs instead

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that sanctions were ready to be put in place if Brunson, who is on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges, was not freed.

Last week the United States doubled tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Turkey, during a dispute over Turkey's detention of an American pastor on security charges that the U.S. views as baseless.

He also urged Brunson to serve as a "great patriot hostage" while he is jailed and criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

Trump is willing to ramp up sanctions further if Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, refuses to release United States pastor, Andrew Brunson.

On Wednesday, Turkey announced tariff hikes on a range of USA goods, including imports of vehicles, alcohol, coal, rice and cosmetics.

Turkey's lira, meanwhile, dropped nearly 3% to almost six to the dollar again, having recovered ground rapidly in recent days.

"The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point".

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In response to Trump's tariffs, Turkish officials said they will impose a 50 percent tax on US rice, 140 percent on spirits, 60 percent on tobacco and 120 percent on cars while increasing duties on a variety of other goods. The US has already increased its sanctions against Turkey.

Erdogan doubled the tariffs on passenger cars to 120 per cent, on alcoholic drinks to 140 per cent and on leaf tobacco to 60 per cent.

"President Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum is about protecting American national security", the spokesperson said.

Underscoring the ties between the countries, Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to phone President Erdogan during the failed coup in Turkey in 2016.

The Turkish lira built upon Wednesday's gains, when Qatar pledged to invest $15 billion in Turkey. The United States was the fourth-largest source of imports to Turkey past year, accounting for $12 billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics. But she added: "Turkey's economic problems - those are a part of a long-term trend, something of its own making and not the result of any actions the United States has taken".

On Wednesday, the USA dismisses any move to remove steel tariffs which caused currency rout in the Turkey even in the circumstance if Ankara frees a USA pastor.



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