USA threatens new Turkey sanctions unless jailed pastor released

Galtero Lara
Agosto 17, 2018

Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorised higher tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Turkey.

The lira´s fall had raised fears Turkey was on the verge of a fully-fledged economic crisis, especially in its banking system, that could spill over into Europe and other markets.

In an interview Wednesday with Anadolu Agency, Qatar's Ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak Al-Shafi said: "The state of Qatar is always proactive in supporting its Turkish brothers".

Qatar poured funds into the country the same day Turkey doubled tariffs on some USA imports, such as cars, alcohol and tobacco, one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of iPhones.

He said relations with Qatar, which he described as a "friendly and brotherly country", would be boosted in many areas.

"Turkey's currency has bounced back from record lows after a lifeline from Qatar".

The lira firmed as far as 5.75 against the dollar on Wednesday and stood at 5.9350 at 0745 GMT in a move initially triggered by a Turkish court decision to release two Greek soldiers facing espionage charges. "Turkish-Qatari relations are based on solid foundations of true friendship and solidarity", he said.

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met President Tayyip Erdogan in the capital, as Turkey grapples with a collapsing lira and a worsening commercial and political standoff with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States. "Working with you, we have more that we're planning to do if they don't release him quickly".

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Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said Turkey had doubled tariffs on 22 products imported from the United States, saying the tariffs were together worth an additional $533 million.

Finance minister Berat Albayrak told more than 3,000 worldwide investors and economists on a video conference that Turkey would emerge stronger from the crisis.

Turkish authorities have called on their citizens to sell their foreign currency in order to bolster the lira.

Erdogan has warned Turkey could seek alternative partners pointing to Ankara´s strong ties with Russia, Iran and China.

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

Erdogan spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, the Turkish presidency said while he is due to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

"The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point", Sanders added.

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