Turkey raises tariffs on some US products in response to economic war
Iran Press TV
Wed Aug 15, 2018 07:29AM
Ankara has sharply increased tariffs on certain US imports, some of them more than double, in response to Washington's "deliberate attacks" on the Turkish economy amid a widening dispute between the two NATO allies.
According to a presidential decree released on Wednesday, the tariffs on goods such as cosmetics, rice and coal have been raised to 100 percent while those on alcoholic drinks, passenger cars and leaf tobacco have reached 140, 120 and 60 percent, respectively.
Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a post on his official Twitter account that the new tariffs came within the framework of the reciprocity principle.
Ankara and Washington are at odds on multiple fronts, including the Syria policy and Turkey's intent to buy Russian defense systems.
Relations between the two sides have further soured over Ankara's imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
Last month, US President Donald Trump threatened to "impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment" of the evangelical Christian pastor, calling for Brunson's immediate release.
The pastor has been accused of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement, which Turkey blames for the 2016 failed military coup. On July 25, Brunson was placed under house arrest after almost two years in a Turkish jail.
US and Turkish officials held talks in Washington in a bid to resolve the crisis over the detained pastor, but the discussions concluded without any obvious progress.
Pastor's appeal rejected
Meanwhile, a Turkish court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the American pastor to be released from house arrest and have his travel ban lifted.
The state television TRT reported that the court in the western city of Izmir had ruled that Brunson would remain under house arrest.
Brunson's lawyer, İsmail Cem Halavurt, lodged the appeal on Tuesday, the second such request in less than a month.
Now, the defendant's appeal for release has been sent to an upper court. Brunson faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.
The US Treasury Department on August 1 announced sanctions on Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.
On August 10, Trump approved a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, saying Washington's ties with Ankara were "not good at this time."
The punitive measures pushed Turkey's currency lira into freefall and rattled the country's financial markets.
Lira jumps after downward spiral
The currency, however, jumped as much as 6.3 percent to 6.5771 per dollar after Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency halved the limit on lenders' swap and swap-like transactions to 25 percent of shareholder equity.
The lira weakened Wednesday morning, trading 0.7 percent lower at 6.33948 per dollar in Istanbul.
Erdogan said Turkey is the target of an economic war waged by the US, calling on citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for the lira.
"It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor," Erdogan said. "I am calling on those in America again. Shame on you, shame on you. You are exchanging your strategic partner in NATO for a priest."
On Tuesday, the Turkish president said his country would boycott US electronic goods, including Apple's iPhone.
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