Turkey raises tariffs on some US imports in retaliation, says report

Anna Jefferson
August 16, 2018

American Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, the man detained in Turkey on terror-related charges and espionage, and who is one of the reasons for the economic hostilities against Turkey by the United States, has filed a fresh appeal for freedom.

The Trump administration announced plans last week to double U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey.

Ankara acted amid increased tension between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over Turkey's detention of a Christian American pastor and other diplomatic issues, which have helped send the lira tumbling to record lows against the dollar.

"American and European intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Tuesday that the escalating tensions between President Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey could jeopardize information sharing and law enforcement cooperation between the two countries as they fight the Islamic State [Daesh] in Syria", the New York Times reported on Tuesday. The currency's climb followed retaliatory tariffs by Ankara against U.S. goods including rice, coal and cars.

Qatar's emir headed to Turkey on Wednesday for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is dealing with a collapse of the lira currency and deteriorating relations with the United States. Although no further detail on the length and implementation of the boycott was provided, but significantly, the transcript of Erdoğan's speech on the Turkish presidency's website omitted the boycott announcement.

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On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal for Brunson's release. Not only did this approach not work, but it also sent the message to Ankara that it was so valuable an ally that there would be no consequences for its actions.

The lira has dropped over 40 percent against the United States dollar so far this year.

Erdogan has repeatedly described the crisis as an "economic war" that Turkey will win.

"Turkey responds to the recent US sanctions with additional tariffs worth of 533 million dollars", state-run Anadolu agency quoted Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan as saying.

"Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the US administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", the country's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said in a pair of tweets.

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As a court in the western Turkish city of Izmir rejected a new appeal to free Brunson on Wednesday, spoksman Kalin said the USA needs to be respectful of the judicial procedures in Turkey.

But his continued detention for nearly two years - without being convicted - has turned into one of the biggest bones of contention in the increasingly troubled relationship between Turkey and the United States.

Turkey has a track record of using national currencies in worldwide trade. "We have other partners and alternative markets", said Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan.

When a recent Post editorial criticized the Turkish government for imprisoning Brunson, among other things, Turkey's ambassador to the U.S.

In this July 25, 2018 photo, evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, center, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey.

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