Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Turkey Doubles Tariffs on some US Imports, Turkish Lira Rallies


Turkey's exports to the United States, its fifth-largest export market, were $8.7 billion.

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

The long relationship between Turkey and the United States was always "high maintenance" and often in "crisis management mode", said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the office of the German Marshall Fund in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

The evangelical pastor is accused of terrorism charges and aiding the network of a USA -based Islamic preacher blamed by Ankara for masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016 against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the USA administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", the country's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said in a pair of tweets. He suggested Turks would buy local or Korean-made Samsung phones instead, although it was unclear how he meant to enforce the boycott. The lira, which has rallied after hitting a record low of 7.24 to the dollar, would continue to recover, he said.

It was also helped by a step from the banking watchdog BDDK, cutting the limit for Turkish banks' forex swap, spot and forward transactions with foreign banks to 25 per cent of a bank's equity.

President Erdogan jailed Brunson almost two years ago following a military coup attempt, arguing Brunson has ties to the coup plotters.

Fundamental concerns about the economy persist, however.

Turkey sought to face down the USA and currency traders as its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reportedly received support from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

The currency drop is particularly painful for Turkey because it has accumulated a high debt in foreign currencies.

"Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man held in Turkey & justice demands that he be released".

Turkey's weakened currency, the lira, plunged by more than 20% in response to those United States sanctions.

But a court rejected an appeal for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson - whose detention for nearly two years sparked the crisis - leaving no immediate solution to the Turkey-United States row in sight.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal by Brunson's lawyer for his appeal to be released from house arrest.

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

Although he was released to home detention, Brunson faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted on both counts at the end of his ongoing trial.

ARKA/.Turkey has slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods, the latest escalation in a standoff that's brought ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to a breaking point, Bloomberg said.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations and the situation in Syria, the sources added. Erdogan's government has blamed followers of the cleric Gulen for an unsuccessful 2016 coup, leading to a purge of thousands of people from Turkey's civil service, police, military and media and educational institutions, with many of them jailed.

The currency drop is particularly painful for Turkey because it has accumulated a high debt in foreign currencies, and because recent trade tariffs from the USA have further injured the economy. Now, he said, the alliance between the two is "very vulnerable" because they have conflicting interests as well as different priorities, including in the Syrian war and over relations with Russian Federation.

"Recent developments in the U.S. -Turkey relationship threaten both countries' economic interests and put at risk an alliance that has proven its value over decades", said Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs, in a message to the U.S. Chamber's U.S. -Turkey Business Council.

The lira gained some support from the announcement late on Wednesday of a Qatari pledge to invest $15bn in Turkey and Albayrak will be looking to reassure investors in his conference call at 1300 GMT.

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