Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Turkey will respond if USA imposes more sanctions - trade minister

Turkey will respond if USA imposes more sanctions - trade minister

The American pastor jailed in Turkey on espionage and terrorism-related charges was praised by President Trump on Thursday who called him "a great patriot hostage" - and said the US would "pay nothing for the release of an innocent man".

Trump tweeted on August 10 that he has authorized a doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports as their currency Lira slides rapidly downward against the USA dollar.

The lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the dollar earlier this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and the row with the United States.

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained amid Turkey's detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Turkey's currency nosedived last week after Mr Trump doubled tariffs on Turkey's steel and aluminium exports to 50% and 20% respectively.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier criticized Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some US goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

The lira, which has weakened 36 percent against the dollar this year, eased to 5.98 against the dollar by 0443 GMT from a close of 5.95, as investors weighed up the latest comments from the United States.

The pastor is now being held under house arrest.

Trump prefaced Mnuchin's remarks by saying that Turkey had not been a very good friend to America.

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He asked Mnuchin for an update on sanctions punishing Turkey for pastor Andrew Brunson's detention.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call Thursday to foster trade ties, a Turkish presidential source said, after the lira's dramatic fall in the wake of escalating tensions with the US. "He's an innocent man".

On Monday, the central bank said it would provide all the liquidity Turkish banks needed, as it seeks to keep money flowing in the financial system.

"The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interests".

China's Foreign Ministry said Turkey can "overcome" the economic problems.

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

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.

In his televised speech yesterday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey will "boycott USA electronic goods".

Some emerging market countries pared their holdings of US Treasuries in June, data from the US Treasury department showed on Wednesday, in what analysts viewed as a move to support their currencies as the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates this year.

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