Turkey shaken by financial fears, President Trump rattles it further

Aug 14, 2018, 04:55
Turkey shaken by financial fears, President Trump rattles it further

The ailing Turkish lira, which had already lost one third of its value this year largely over worries about Erdogan's wider control of the economy, crashed further to a fresh record low, at one point losing 18 percent, its biggest fall since 2001.

Trump, outraged by Turkey's detention of an American evangelical pastor on terrorism charges, said on Twitter he would double duties on Turkish aluminum and steel, to 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.

A meeting between senior diplomats from the two countries on Wednesday in Washington did not produce significant progress to ease tensions over the trial of USA pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey on charges of supporting terrorism and espionage.

Trump added that the Turkish currency Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

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Walters did not offer any explanation as to how USA national security is threatened by steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, which hosts a major United States military base. Trump tweeted. Washington's relations with Ankara "are not good at this time", he added.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to sell their gold and dollars to support the crumbling lira. The shared currency sank as much as 1.2 percent to the weakest in more than a year after a Financial Times report that the European Central Bank raised concern about the region's banks' exposure to Turkey. "Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down", Erdogan in Trabzon on Sunday.

"(Section 232 is) being employed more in a punitive sense rather than protecting a US industry for the sake of national security", said Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

The steel and aluminum tariffs originally had nothing to do with the treatment of Brunson.

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In a separate opinion piece in the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's efforts to solve the crisis with diplomatic methods have been dismissed by the Trump administration, warning that Washington might completely lose Ankara as an ally. Graham called Turkey's case against Brunson a "sham".

Erdogan said his decision to sanction the U.S.in retaliation for American sanctions was to convey that Turkey "does not respond to threats". Turkey was reportedly the sixth largest steel importer to the US.

The American-Turkish Council urged Turkey and the United States to maintain dialogue and to return to the negotiating table late Monday.

Berat Albayrak, Turkey's treasury and finance minister, sought at a news conference Friday in Istanbul to ease investor concerns about Turkey's econom.

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