Trump doubles steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 12, 2018

Turkish media covered the latest tensions between Ankara and Washington, with pro-government daily Sabah saying on its front page that "the currency attack" was no different from the attempted July 2016 coup.

"If the U.S.is turning its back on us.choosing a pastor instead, sorry.we continue our path with decisive steps", Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in Black Sea coastal city of Rize.

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats in years over the almost two-year detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.But Erdogan urged Turks not to be panicked by the currency crisis, saying: "If they have the dollar, we have Allah". "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging", said Erdogan, who warned of "economic war".

Washington imposed the metals tariffs on national security grounds, claiming the glut of steel and aluminium harmed USA companies and the economy. According to figures from the Turkish Government, for the period of 2002 to October 2017, Turkish direct investments in the United States reached $3.7 billion while US investments in Turkey amounted to $11.1 billion, second only to the Netherlands' 21.6 billion.

Mr Erdogan said although the nations had been allies for decades, Turkey "now has alternatives".

"President Erdogan's strengthened powers under the new presidential system have made it increasingly uncertain whether policymakers will be able to act to stabilise the economy", said William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London. "Because this is the language they understand", he said.

Turning to the economic effects of the diplomatic row, Mr Erdogan said: "If they have the dollar, we have Allah".

"Their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong dollar!"

Relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to increase tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel to 20% and 50% respectively.

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. "Don't heed them. Don't forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God", Erdogan said.

Concerns mounted Friday after a report in the Financial Times that the supervisory wing of the European Central Bank had over the last weeks begun to look more closely at eurozone lenders' exposure to Turkey. "The entire Turkish public is against United States policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands", Kalin, also a spokesperson for Erdogan, wrote for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

The news comes as Erdogan warned the United States that Turkey will seek "new friends and allies" in an editorial published in the New York Times today, urging them to respect Turkish sovereignty "before it's too late". Trump also threatened additional "large sanctions" against Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, for Brunson's detention.

Turkey's economy is only the 17th largest in the world, but its problems are worsening as Donald Trump's trade war is rattling global commerce, damaging longtime alliances and threatening economic growth worldwide.

President Tayyip Erdogan denied on Saturday that Turkey is in a currency crisis, dismissing a plunge in the lira as "fluctuations" unrelated to the country's economic fundamentals.

"The US and Turkey are breaking up".

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