Turkey Escalates Feud With U.S. By Increasing Tariffs on American Imports

15 August, 2018, 23:03 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Turkey Lira meltdown over Turkey US relations

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier talks to members of the media after visiting USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held under house arrest in Izmir, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018.

A court Wednesday again rejected a request brought by Brunson's defence for his release, leaving no end to the crisis in sight.

Brunson, who faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted, has always maintained his innocence. Brunson's lawyer told Reuters that the appeal could be heard sooner that the usual three to seven days.

Brunson was arrested and indicted on espionage and terror-related charges back in 2016 in connection with a failed military coup operation.

American pastor Andrew Brunson has received another setback as he remains detained by the regime in Turkey.

Brunson was sent from jail to house arrest last month but the move added to rather than defused tensions, with USA officials bitterly disappointed he had not been allowed to return home.

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

On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on aluminum and steel from Turkey in response to the detention of a US citizen.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton met with the Turkish ambassador to the US on Monday, the latest in a series of meetings between high level administration officials and Turkish officials as they try to resolve the impasse over Brunson.

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In an effort to defend the lira, Turkey's central bank tightened its rules on currency swaps and other foreign exchange transactions, limiting banks' ability to supply lira to foreign financial companies.

Investors are anxious not only about Turkey's souring relations with the U.S., a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, but also Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's economic policies and the country's high debt accumulated in foreign currencies. Having spent two years in jail, his trial is due to resume in October.

The country said it is willing to hold talks with the USA over the matter.

Turkey has also been publicly critical of criminal prosecutions in the US involving state-run Halkbank official Mehmet Hakan Atilla, as well as Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader. It is not just Turkey's request.

"The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the US administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter.

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.

Turkey is a significant source of global demand for gold, although it lags well behind the world's two largest buyers of the metal, China and India.

Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court.

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