US Treasury Secretary Hints at More Sanctions for Turkey

Turkey denies American pastor’s appeal, decides to hit the US with tariffs instead

Turkey denies American pastor’s appeal, decides to hit the US with tariffs instead

Turkey has been rocked in recent days by a sharp decline in the value of its lira after US President Donald Trump tweeted last Friday that Washington was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Ankara.

Turkey's currency, which had recovered from record losses against the dollar earlier in the week, was down about 6 percent against the dollar on Friday, at 6.17.

The currency plunged to a record low of 7.24 to the dollar at the start of the week as a worsening of relations between Turkey and the U.S. added to losses driven by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

Mr. Trump is taking issue with the continued detention in Turkey of Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical pastor who faces 35 years in prison on charges of espionage and terrorism.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that the U.S. will "pay nothing" for the release of a jailed American Pastor in Turkey, but would punish Ankara if he is not released.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier criticized Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some US goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

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The Turkish lira TRY= rose 2.7 percent to 5.80 per dollar.

Mr Trump said: "They want to hold our wonderful pastor".

The US present had harsh words for Turkish officials during the cabinet session, saying, "They have not proven to be a good friend".

In another element of the row with Washington, a USA court sentenced a senior executive of state-owned Turkish lender Halkbank to 32 months in prison in May for taking part in a scheme to help Iran evade US sanctions.

The currency lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over President Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

A decree by Erdogan doubled Turkish tariffs on imports of USA passenger cars to 120 per cent, alcoholic drinks to 140 per cent and leaf tobacco to 60 per cent. Tariffs were also doubled on goods such as cosmetics, rice and coal.

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Many countries had been the target of similar US trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

Trump then called Brunson a "very innocent man" and said his arrest was "not fair, not right". Turkish currency has nosedived lately.

The Eurasian country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced on Tuesday that he would be calling for a boycott of all American electronics sold to the country's residents.

What should have had anyone watching the debacle banging their heads against the nearest wall was that the Turkish policy response seemed to be to, well, do nothing - except blame a mysterious global financial cabal for a crisis of Turkey's own making.

Gold prices in line with the emerging market currencies rout, triggered by Turkey's Lira and China's economic woes, reduced to its over 19-month low price levels.

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