Qatar's Emir Heads to Turkey for Talks With Erdogan

Thursday, 16 Aug, 2018

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree Wednesday to raise tariffs on us imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco.

Turkey has doubled tariffs on some imports from the United States, such as passenger cars, alcohol and tobacco, in what its vice president said was a response to deliberate U.S. attacks on the Turkish economy.

Turkey's national currency, the lira, has tumbled by almost 40% against the USA dollar so far this year.

After reaching record lows on Monday, the lira rebounded to stronger than 6.0 against the dollar on Wednesday.

The new round of tariffs followed President Erdogan's call on Tuesday to boycott USA electronic products and earlier urging Turks to sell their dollars and euros to prop up the lira.

"Turkey would do well not to test @POTUS Trump's resolve to see Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned in foreign lands returned home to the United States", Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet.

Last week, Washington doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey over its continued detention of the US pastor Andrew Brunson.

On Tuesday, Erdogan announced that Turkey would boycott United States electronic goods, singling out iPhones. Though it was unclear how the boycott would be enforced or encouraged.

Qatar pledged to invest $15 billion in Turkish financial markets and banks amid the massive collapse of its currency.

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The ministers responded by condemning the sanctions and claiming not to have any economic interests or properties in the United States.

"For months, the U.S. Chamber has warned that alienating our allies in a tit-for-tat trade war would harm the U.S. economy and undermine American global leadership, and evidence of that harm to U.S. workers, farmers, and businesses is mounting". It recovered a bit, by 4 percent to around 6.12 lira per dollar Wednesday, after the government took steps to shore up the currency by reducing the daily limit in bank foreign currency swap transactions.

It is believed many Qatari investors could be at risk from a Turkish economic crisis.

The Kremlin said the same day that Russian Federation favored bilateral trade with all countries in their national currencies, rather than the dollar, but that the idea needed detailed work before being implemented. He said that was likely to happen by the end of business on Wednesday.

"Such trade liberalization would require time but it could support Turkey's exports".

Also on the military front, Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defence system has irked the US and other alliance members in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The visit came hours after Brunson's lawyer appealed to a court for his release and for a travel ban against him to be lifted.

The evangelical pastor, who is originally from Black Mountain, N.C., has lived in Turkey for 23 years and led the Izmir Resurrection Church.

A Turkish court rejected a new appeal to free U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detention has sparked a major row between Turkey and the US.