Turkey raises tariffs on some U.S. imports in response to economic 'attacks'

Daniel Fowler
August 15, 2018

Turkey has doubled tariffs on some US imports, such as cars, alcohol and tobacco, one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of iPhones.

Under the decree, Turkey will raise up to 100 percent or more on imports of USA -origin products.

"If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side".

"And we have our own Vestel here", Erdogan said, referring to the Turkish electronics company, whose shares rose 5 percent.

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 Turkish president has repeatedly been photographed while using Apple products such as iPhones and iPads. The Turkish leader has consolidated power after a failed coup attempt in the winter of 2016, not long before America's presidential election.

The United States imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled customs tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports after Brunson was placed in house arrest.

We have to serve better quality goods than we are importing from them, Erdogan added in his comments made amid the ongoing tussle with Washington. "Necessary instructions on the issue have been issued to our agencies", Yahya Ustun, spokesman for the country's flag-carrier, wrote on Twitter.

"Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the government of Qatar is now overlooking the situation in Turkey and did not provide the necessary political and humanitarian support... is this how a friendship should be?" the newspaper's report said.

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The judiciary said Sunday it had arrested 67 people under a sweeping corruption crackdown and prevented 100 government employees from leaving the country.

Erdogan admitted that his country had problems such as a widening current account deficit and inflation of nearly 16 percent.

Behind the scenes, however, diplomatic dialogue appears to have resumed.

Turkey's ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic held talks with U.S. national security advisor John Bolton in a meeting which Ankara said was arranged by the White House.

The Turkish lira hit an all-time low of 7.24 to the dollar on Monday, Aug. 13, driven down by concerns over Erdogan's calls for the central bank to loosen monetary policy, and by deteriorating ties with the United States.

The lira has fallen more than 40 per cent against the USA dollar this year, while Ankara's relationship with Washington has soured.

Turkey has accused the United States of waging an "economic war" as part of a plot to harm the country.

In a statement released Tuesday, Turkish business groups called on Erdogan to let the Turkish central bank raise interest rates to stop the currency crisis.

Optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial and a banking watchdog's step to limit foreign exchange swap transactions have also helped the lira.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said the finance chief would address hundreds of foreign investors on Thursday in a teleconference.

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