Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

Detained Pastor Brunson causing Turkey-U.S. tension files fresh appeal

Detained Pastor Brunson causing Turkey-U.S. tension files fresh appeal

Turkey on Wednesday doubled tariffs on several US products, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars.

On Wednesday, Turkey doubled tariffs on some imports from the U.S. - such as passenger cars, alcohol and tobacco - in what it said was retaliation for "deliberate attacks" on its economy.

"They will likely just give warm words to Turkey, looking to exploit the situation and stir things up for the US and the West", said Timothy Ash, senior strategist at BlueBay Asset Management.

Markets are concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate increases to tackle double-digit inflation.

Turkey on Wednesday said it was hiking tariffs on imports of several key United States products in retaliation for American sanctions against Ankara, as a bitter dispute between the two allies that sent the Turkish lira into freefall showed no sign of ending.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Turkish presidency.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier talks to members of the media after visiting USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held under house arrest in Izmir, Turkey, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

Just days after President Trump tweeted his decision to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, Turkey has announced that it, too, is ratcheting up retaliatory tariffs.

The currency plunge raised concerns of a banking crisis and rekindled long-running worries about economic mismanagement. Ankara more than doubled the tariff on USA rice to 50%, increased the United States coal tariff to 14% from 10% and more than tripled the tariff on cars to 120%.

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Erdogan's appointment of his own son-in-law as Finance Minister, following his electoral victory in June, was "the final straw for global investors", Foreign Policy reported, citing Aaron Stein of the Atlantic Council. "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira". But she added that Turkey's economic problems "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".

The U.S. was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey a year ago, accounting for $12 billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

WASHINGTON - The White House warned on Wednesday that Turkey is increasingly trending away from USA interests, furious over the continued detention and trial of an American pastor in Ankara.

The NATO allies have been at loggerheads over a wide range of topics, including diverging interests in Syria, Ankara's ambition to buy Russian defence systems and Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial for terrorism charges. An upper court had yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters.

If Brunson is not released, the next escalatory measure by the U.S. would most likely be targeted sanctions on businesspeople with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Top U.S. dailies have published stories trying to deflect from Turkey announcing on Tuesday a boycott of American electronic products, focusing instead on other aspects of the bilateral row.

On Tuesday, Erdogan announced that Turkey would boycott USA electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

She said the US was "monitoring the situation".

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