Turkey's Erdogan pledges boycott on US electronics

Jeannie Matthews
August 17, 2018

A dispute between the US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey continued today with the Turkish president sounding defiant about the latest sanctions from Washington.

In retaliation, Turkey is now hiking tariffs on American cars to 120 percent and increasing duties on alcohol to 140 percent.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned Turkey not to test the resolve of U.S. President Donald Trump on the case of the detained American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.

Turkish officials say they're on board for the idea, with President Erdogan saying Turkey is already prepared to conduct all trade with China, Russia, and Ukraine through their respective currencies. Hours later Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, issued retaliatory tariffs on the United States.

The lira had nosedived in recent weeks, hitting a record low of 7.24 this week, as investors anxious about fundamental economic problems in the country and a diplomatic and trade dispute with the United States.

Efforts to rally support and bolster domestic markets included a call Thursday between Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and worldwide investors.

Vice President Fuat Oktay tweeted that the new tariffs were retaliation for "the deliberate attack of the US administration on our economy", CNN said.

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Turkey hikes tariffs on US
Markets have been concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate increases to tackle double-digit inflation.

The impasse led to the depreciation of the Turkish lira, which lost 25 per cent of its value in August and impacted on other countries' currencies as well, including the Indian rupee, as investors feared the lira's wobbles could spread to developing nations.

The lira was being traded at 5.7 against the dollar and 6.5 against euro - after it lost almost a quarter of its value on Friday and Monday (Aug 13). One video made local headlines in southeastern Turkey as a businessman in Gaziantep smashed his and four of his friend's iPhones while calling out Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the USA had seen "no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong".

He promised central bank independence, tighter budget discipline, structural reform and "sustainable and healthy growth".

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

Mr Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law, said the country's banks were healthy and strong and the nation would not be turning to the International Monetary Fund.

In recent days, Qatari supporters of Turkey have begun a public campaign in Doha to change their riyals into lira in an attempt to shore up the plunging Turkish currency.

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