Turkey will respond if United States imposes more sanctions - trade minister

Kenny Grant
August 17, 2018

Qatar defied US President Donald Trump on Wednesday and promised to plough $15 billion into Turkish financial markets and banks.

Washington warned more economic pressures may be in store for Turkey if it refuses to release Brunson, a White House official said on August 15.

"They have not proven to be a good friend", Trump said of Turkey during the Cabinet meeting.

Last week, Washington doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey over its continued detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson. Turkey retaliated with some $533 million of tariffs on some USA imports - including cars, tobacco and alcoholic drinks - and said it would boycott US electronic goods, singling out Iphones.

In a conference call with thousands of investors and economists, Albayrak - who is President Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law - said Turkey fully understood and recognized all its domestic challenges but was dealing with what he described as a market anomaly.

Turkey and its firms face repayments of almost $3.8 billion on foreign currency bonds in October, Societe General has calculated.

The Turkish currency was trading at 5.85 at 1740 GMT, more than 1 percent stronger on the day.

One currency trader said Friday's lira weakness was driven by "the new US sanctions threat and the S&P decision, with position-closing in markets ahead of the public holiday".

A defiant Erdogan said the Americans "have their dollar but we have our God".

The lira's months-long slide has accelerated as a result of the diplomatic standoff with Washington over Brunson's detention.

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Last week, Trump tweeted that his administration was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Turkey, and in response Ankara sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. products.

The lira sank to an unprecedented 7.24 to the dollar on Monday, drawing expert warnings that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had to intervene before it was too late.

Albayrak said there would be no concessions on fiscal discipline and said, "We are targeting lowering inflation into the single digits as soon as possible".

However, analysts are calling for a sharp hike in interest rates - which Erdogan adamantly opposes because it will put a brake on economic growth.

According to the Hurriyet Daily, a significant number of importers have begun to withdraw their short and long-term orders after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal to boycott USA electronic products on Tuesday.

He has also warned Ankara could start looking for new allies, as well as new markets.

On Wednesday, Qatar pledged $15 billion to help Turkey through its economic and currency crisis. He's lived in Turkey for more than 20 years and is accused by the Turkish government of terrorism and spying.

President Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin praised Qatari-Turkish relations on Twitter. The Turkish government claims Gülen is responsible for the failed coup against Erdoğan in 2016; American officials have repeatedly said Ankara has not provided sufficient evidence for extradition to occur.

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

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