Turkey escalates US feud by increasing tariffs on products

President Erdogan yesterday blamed “economic terrorists” for the nation’s woes

The decision to impose new tariffs came a day after Erdogan said Turkey would boycott USA electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey's latest salvo Tuesday, saying his country will boycott US -made electronic goods and turn to other manufacturers including South Korea's Samsung or Turkey's Vestel. "Not only with Turkey and Iran, we're also arranging and already implementing payments in national currencies with the People's Republic of China", he said. Singling out the iPhone, he suggested Turks buy Samsung Electronics Co. or locally made Venus Vestel smartphones instead.

Turkey on Wednesday doubled tariffs on some US imports, including alcohol, cars and tobacco in retaliation for USA moves.

On Wednesday, the lira traded at 6.4125 to the USA dollar, weakening from a close of 6.3577 a day earlier.

Both Russia and Turkey's currencies have been exposed to the U.S. sanctions pressure.

One Turkish court has rejected an American Christian pastor's appeal to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted, but an upper court is yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US -based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan.

Last month, a Turkish court ordered Brunson's release from prison but placed him under house arrest, prompting a furious reaction from the Trump administration, which had demanded that he be allowed to return to the United States.

President Donald Trump had previously announced that the USA was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies row over the detention by Turkish authorities of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Turkey will continue talks with the United States if it shows a constructive stance to resolve the diplomatic row, Ibrahim Kalin said, adding that no discussions were planned.

Trump administration sources say further sanctions against Turkey are under active consideration.

An employee at an upscale clothing store who declined to give his name said the amount of shoppers was unusual even in high season, attributing it to the lira's fall.

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers crisis, one must hope that US policymakers gain the insight to appreciate the real risks that a highly indebted country like Turkey could pose to the USA and global economies.

While policy makers have hiked lending rates by 500 basis points this year to 17.75 percent, they're under constant pressure from Erdogan to keep rates low because he thinks it's better for the economy. "The central bank has not done this through a change in the benchmark rates, but they are squeezing liquidity, so the result is the same", Maggio said.

Andrew Craig Brunson is escorted by Turkish plain clothes police officers, July 25, 2018, in Izmir, Turkey.

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