Turkey says Trump tariff move will harm ties, vows retaliation

Turkey says Trump tariff move will harm ties, vows retaliation

Turkey says Trump tariff move will harm ties, vows retaliation

Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was wrong of the United States to try to bring Turkey into line with threats, a day after President Donald Trump 2X'd tariffs on Turkish metal imports as the row esclated.

Despite Trump's insistence, Turkey has not budged in freeing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained by Turkey for nearly two years on charges that he was working with a terrorist organization and was a spy.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile slammed the USA decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"Section 232 tariffs are imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security as defined in Section 232, independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter", White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

"Repeated efforts to communicate to the USA administration that none of the stated criteria driving America's tariffs are applicable to Turkey have thus far proven fruitless", Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 has always been falling on worries about Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.

The ailing Turkish lira, which had already lost one third of its value this year largely over worries about Erdogan's wider control of the economy, crashed further to a fresh record low, at one point losing 18 percent, its biggest fall since 2001.

"President Trump on Friday doubled steel tariffs on Turkey as its government battled the currency collapse".

The currency has fallen more than 35 percent this year after losing almost a quarter of its value in 2017.

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Turkish officials held talks in Washington this week, but there was no breakthrough.

Waves from the crisis spread overseas, with investors selling off shares in European banks which have large exposure to the Turkish economy.

Earlier this month, the USA slapped sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers over Brunson's imprisonment.

"If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks". "This will be my people's response to those who have waged an economic war against us".

Turkey retaliated with Erdogan ordering authorities to freeze the assets of the US justice and interior ministers in Turkey - "if there are any".

Although Mr Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with the US.

On Friday, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak rolled out the government's new economic plan, promising central bank independence and tighter budget discipline, but giving few details to reassure investors and stem a widening currency crisis.

Turkey also wants the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt against Erdogan in which 250 people were killed.

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