Setback for US Pastor Brunson as Turkey Retaliates Against Trump

Ivan Schwartz
August 15, 2018

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, as Turkey grapples with a collapse in the lira and tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States.

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

The currency strengthened to around 6.20 lira against the dollar on Wednesday after the government took steps to shore up the currency by reducing the daily limit in bank foreign currency swap transactions and amid news that the finance minister would address foreign investors on Thursday.

"In other countries, there has been reaction to United States attacks", said Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin referred to the conflict with the USA in stark terms saying, "Turkey does not favor an economic war, but it can not remain unresponsive when it is attacked".

Some analysts predicted Beijing, while embroiled in a trade war with the United States, may offer some financial assistance to Turkey, such as buying yuan-denominated bonds.

Erdogan again urged Turks to convert their USA dollars into the Turkish currency - the lira - to give it a boost as it continues to drop in value.

In response, Erdogan has called for a boycott of USA electrical goods.

"They don't hesitate to use the economy as a weapon", he said.

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The finance minister will seek to reassure global investors on Thursday in a conference call for which a ministry official said some far 3,000 people had signed up.

Ankara retaliated on Wednesday by doubling tariffs on some USA imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco.

Tariffs were also doubled on goods such as cosmetics, rice and coal.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that the tariff hikes were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the United States administration".

Doha has $20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, official figures showed last month, and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate.

A court in Turkey has rejected an appeal by an American pastor, who faces terrorism charges, to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted. Turkey's exports to the United States past year amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

A Turkish court on Wednesday rejected US pastor Andrew Brunson's appeal to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted, although a ruling from a higher court on the matter is still forthcoming.

"The tariffs that are in place on steel will not be removed with the release of pastor Brunson".

The hikes were published in Turkey´s Official Gazette in a decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly described the crisis as an "economic war" that Turkey will win. "The tariffs are specific to national security", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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