Trump authorizes doubling of tariffs on Turkey's steel, aluminum

In a separate opinion piece in the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's efforts to solve the crisis with diplomatic methods have been dismissed by the White House, warning that Washington might completely lose them as an ally. In the article, he said that Washington used 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes to deliver weapons to the Syrian branch of an "armed group that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Turkish citizens since 1984 and that is designated a terrorist group by the U.S".

Turkey's detention of Andrew Brunson on security-related charges is one of a series of disputes at the heart of deteriorating ties between the two countries.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey - prompting the lira to plunge 20 percent - amid heightened tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Mr Trump said tariffs on aluminium imports would be increased to 20% and the tariff on steel imports will be raised to 50% as the Turkish Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!". The U.S. exported $9.75 billion worth of goods-mostly cotton, scrap iron, steel, civilian aircraft parts, coal, and petroleum gases-to Turkey, and imported $9.42 billion worth of goods from them.

On July 26, Trump announced that he would hit Turkey with "large sanctions" if it continued to hold Brunson, adding "This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!"

The lira tumbled 16 percent against the dollar on Friday.

All eyes will be on the lira when foreign exchange markets reopen on Monday after the weekend pause.

Without naming countries, Mr Erdogan said supporters of a failed military coup two years ago, which Ankara said was organised by a US-based Muslim cleric, were attacking Turkey in new ways since his re-election two months ago.

"Those who can't compete with us on the ground have brought online fictional currency plots that have nothing to with the realities of our country, production and real economy", he stated. With God's permission we will overcome this'.

A meeting on Friday unveiling a new economic approach by Turkey's finance minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, did little to offer support for the free-falling lira as investors sought concrete steps such as an interest rate hike to restore confidence.

He is clearly angry that the United States has not taken more action against the Gulenist movement and what he said was a failure "to unequivocally condemn" the 2016 coup attempt.

He appeared to indicate that the entire alliance between Turkey - which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 with strong American backing - and Washington was at stake.

"You dare to sacrifice 81-million Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?"

It was down roughly 0.5 percent to trade at $1.146 on Friday morning.

Brunson's confinement has been one of a series of issues tearing at the ties between the United States and Turkey, a fellow member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"If European countries want to get rid of the dollar pressure, we are ready to create a similar system with them", Anadolu Agency quotes him as saying.

"You arrest my Halkbank general deputy director?" Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

  • Rogelio Becker