Turkey doubles tariffs on some US imports; lira rallies

LEADING ARTICLEAugust 13 2018 5:00pm The Times Tantrum in Turkey Erdogan should end his spat with the West if he wants to avert a deeper crisis

LEADING ARTICLEAugust 13 2018 5:00pm The Times Tantrum in Turkey Erdogan should end his spat with the West if he wants to avert a deeper crisis

Tariffs on other goods like cosmetics, rice and coal were also doubled.

Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter that the increase in duties were in response to "deliberate attacks on our economy" by the U.S. administration.

The Turkish lira plummeted to a record low on Monday, losing almost 40 percent of its value since the start of 2018.

Turkey's president appeared to escalate a dispute with the United States that has helped foment a Turkish currency crisis, claiming Tuesday that his country will boycott US-made electronic goods.

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The turmoil has raised fears of a looming economic crisis in Turkey and prompted alarm that foreign investors in the country, including Qatar, could be hit in the fallout.

Turkey announced Wednesday increased duties on USA products including cars, tobacco and alcohol in retaliation to US sanctions and tariffs on Turkey in an on-going feud over the detention of an American pastor.

The latest moves follow President Erdogan's announcement that Turkey will boycott American electronic goods. It was unclear how he planned to enforce such a boycott.

Pastor Andrew Brunson's lawyer had on Tuesday renewed an appeal for the clergyman's release from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted.

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Lavrov echoed Erdogan's calls for countries to use their national currencies rather than the dollar in global trade, but there were no firm commitments on help for Turkey.

It rebounded some 6 percent on Wednesday, briefly strengthening to less than 6.0 against the dollar, after the central bank squeezed lira liquidity in the market, effectively pushing up rates and supporting the currency. He suggested Turks would buy local or Korean-made Samsung phones instead, although it was unclear how he meant to enforce the boycott. He is accused of involvement with an attempted coup that led to tens of thousands of people being arrested. Erdogan has been fighting the Turkish Central Bank for years, at great risk, against high interest rates, while his desire to create an Islamic class of entrepreneurs has distorted public tenders.

US-Turkish relations have been hurt by a series of issues from diverging interests in Syria, Ankara's plan to buy Russian defence systems and the detention of pastor Brunson.

The ruckus between Turkey and the United States has impacted on other countries' currencies, including the Indian rupee, as investors fear the lira's wobbles could spread to developing nations. United States officials say National Security adviser John Bolton had met with the Turkish ambassador to Washington on Monday. In July, US President Donald Trump vowed to impose sanctions on Turkey unless Brunson is liberated. They also said Turkey should work to resolve the situation with the United States diplomatically while also improving relations with another major trading partner, the European Union.

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A Turkish court Tuesday released two Greek soldiers detained since March on espionage charges for illegally crossing the border in a case that has stoked tensions with Brussels.

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