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White House: tariffs imposed on Turkey's steel not related to Brunson

16 Août 2018

In a phone conversation the leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral ties and Merkel told Erdoğan the strength of Turkey's economy was important to Germany, a presidential source told Reuters.

The declaration comes as a trade war between the United States and Turkey has caused the Turkish currency, the lira, to plummet over the past few days, sending shockwaves throughout global markets.

Erdogan has reacted to the financial instability by blaming foreign powers, in particularly the United States, a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, which he says is waging an "economic war" as part of a plot to harm Turkey.

There is an increasing risk of lower-level Turkish officials, acting on their own initiative, taking measures against USA individuals and companies, including arbitrary regulatory inspections, scrutiny over existing state contracts, as well as deliberate difficulties for U.S. citizens in customs.

As the feud between the US administration and Turkey deepens, Turkish officials announced Wednesday they will increase tariffs on certain American imports.

Videos showing Turkish citizens stomping on or otherwise destroying iPhones have proliferated online in recent days, following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call for Turks to boycott US products - specifically the smartphones made by California tech giant Apple. The decree also doubled tariffs on American cosmetics, rice, and coal, among other imports.

The latest blow was sparked by sanctions imposed on Turkey by the Trump administration over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was jailed for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for an attempted coup in 2016.

On Monday, the USA president signed a defense authorization act that notably prohibits the delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey if it buys Russia's S-400 air defense system.

The White House said on Wednesday that the United States will not lift sanctions on Turkish steel and aluminum products even if detained American pastor Andrew Brunson is released. Brunson had lived in Turkey for more than 20 years prior to his arrest.

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak Thursday said that the country knew all its domestic challenges and will come out of the current market volatility stronger, reported local press.

The lira - which lost just under a quarter of its value on Friday and Monday - however continued to claw back some ground on financial markets, rallying around five percent against the dollar.

Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court.

"Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies", the president said in the article.

"Rates have gone up by 10 per cent. The central bank has not done this through a change in the benchmark rates, but they are squeezing liquidity, so the result is the same", he said.

U.S. and European stock markets fell on Wednesday, amid worries over the outlook for the Turkish lira.

White House: tariffs imposed on Turkey's steel not related to Brunson