Trump doubles steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey


On Saturday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the United States that it could lose a "strategic partner", declaring a rally: "We only bow before God".

Trump tweeted that the latest tariff decision came as Turkey's currency, the lira, "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar".

Erdoğan had warned Saturday that Turkey would start looking for new friends if the USA continued with its unilateral actions against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, in a diplomatic row that has sent Ankara and Washington relations to a new low.

Speaking to a crowd in his hometown of Rize on Saturday, Erdogan addressed the recent United States decision to sanction two Turkish officials over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held in Turkey since 2016 over claims that he was linked to the failed coup attempt in July of that same year.

After nearly 20 months in a Turkish jail, Mr Brunson was moved to house arrest last month by a court.

President Donald Trump broke the news on social media that he authorized the doubling of existing steel and aluminum duties on imports from Turkey.

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Trump tweeted Friday that the U.S. -Turkey ties "are not good at this time!".

Putting a 50 percent tariff on a foreign country's steel exports isn't the most conventional way to secure an imprisoned American's relief.

Trump made his unexpected announcement on Twitter from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, as the Turkish currency, the lira, fell to all-time lows against the US dollar.

But Erdogan urged Turks not to be panicked by the currency crisis, saying: "If they have the dollar, we have Allah".

In a New York Times article on Saturday, Mr Erdogan warned that Turkey would be forced to seek new friends.

Trump announced the action Friday on Twitter. "This will be my people's response to those who have waged an economic war against us".

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In a separate opinion piece in the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's efforts to solve the crisis with diplomatic methods have been dismissed by the Trump administration, warning that Washington might completely lose Ankara as an ally.

He also said Turkey had alternatives, "from Iran, to Russian Federation, to China and some European countries".

In a tit-for-tat response to the U.S. sanctions, Erdogan responded by announcing that the assets in Turkey of the USA secretaries of "justice and interior" would be frozen. "Don't heed them", Erdogan said.

During yesterday's meeting, Erdoğan said that the fluctuation in Turkish lira is a plot against Turkey, but the Turkish people will not give in.

A delegation of Turkish officials held discussions with their counterparts in Washington this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough. The lira fell further as Erdogan spoke. "It could serve as a template for further tariff actions against China if the renminbi depreciates further relative to the dollar, even if that depreciation were mainly a reflection of the relative strength of the USA and Chinese economies".

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