Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Iran denounces Trump's tariffs targeting Turkey

President Donald Trump Carolyn Kaster Associated Press President Donald Trump
Jeannette Daniel | 12 August, 2018, 22:24

Trump stated in an inflammatory tweet that the Turkish lira was weak against "our very strong dollar", adding that "US relations with Turkey are not good at this time".

The embattled Turkish lira tumbled over 16 percent to new record lows against the dollar as strains with the United States intensified over a number of issues including the detention of a pastor as well as Washington's cooperation with Syrian Kurdish militia force in the fight against Islamic State.

Erdogan said Turkey would turn towards new markets, new partners and alternative financial tools.

Turkey's president Saturday blamed the country's economic problems on the United States and other nations, whom he says are waging an economic war against his country. U.S. stocks were also rattled.

Terming the recent USA tariffs on Turkey as an "economic war", the Turkish president said: "We've seen your game and we will challenge it".

The Trump administration threatened to impose additional sanctions on Turkey if it did not meet the deadline, Erdogan said.

"It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor", Erdogan said in the Black Sea town of Unye.

Turkish officials insist the outcome of Brunson's case exclusively relies on the judiciary, a claim the United States has refused to buy in the light of Erdogan's earlier suggestions to swap him with Turkish opposition exiles residing in the US.

Turkey and the USA are now experiencing rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

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The lira sell-off deepened concern over whether over-indebted Turkish companies will be able to pay back loans taken out in euros and dollars after years of overseas borrowing to fund a construction boom under Erdogan. "This will be the response to those who have declared an economic war".

In an op-ed published in New York Times, Erdogan warned Washington not to risk its relations with Ankara, saying otherwise it would look for "new friends and allies".

Calling on the US, Erdogan said: "It is a shame".

"I'm not aware of any prior administration using tariffs in this way, and there's a very simple reason: because they're an incredibly blunt instrument that often can have blowback on American workers and consumers as we've seen in the China context", said Ned Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who also served as a National Security Council spokesman during the Obama administration.

Turkish authorities arrested Brunson in December 2016, claiming that he was a spy and was linked to a failed plot to overthrow the government.

"They have been trying to achieve what they failed to do through provocations and a coup attempt with money now", he said.

His cause resonates with Mr Trump's Christian conservative supporters. He offered no further details.

Erdogan enjoys the support of many Turks even though rents and food and fuel prices have all surged.

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