White House denounces Turkey tariffs on USA products

Andrew Cummings
August 17, 2018

"To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: Release pastor Andrew Brunson now, or be prepared to face the consequences", Vice President Mike Pence said last month.

Markets are concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate increases to tackle double-digit inflation.

Ankara accuses Mr Brunson - who operates a tiny evangelical church in Izmir - of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a failed coup two years ago.

There was also optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial.

"We have put sanctions on several of their cabinet members", Mnuchin told President Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting attended by the press.


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.

The lira has weakened 35 percent against the dollar this year.

The US comments came after Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, assured investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signalling it could ride out the dispute.

The lira, which earlier this week traded at well over seven to the dollar, was at 5.8 against the dollar and 6.7 against euro on Friday.

This is mainly due to the firm dollar which is seen strengthening against a basket of emerging market currencies for quite some time now and has in fact stood close to its recent peak.


Although Qatar has now pledged $15 billion it has not actually paid anything, and it may not be enough to solve Turkey's economic problems. Turkey is dependent on imports, priced in hard currency, for nearly all of its energy needs.

Analysts say Turkey is also likely to seek a more dynamic economic relationship with China and Russian Federation, with whom ties have warmed considerably in recent years. But the sell-off has increased the cost of servicing that debt, particularly for companies whose revenues are exclusively in lira.

Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Ankara is ready to discuss its ongoing issues with the United States as long as there are no threats.

Angry Turks tore up fake dollar bills in protest.

Measures taken by Turkey's central bank also helped the lira rebound, such as cracking down on foreigners aiming to short the currency.


Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER