Turkey slaps retaliatory tariff hikes on key U.S. products

Turkey Lira meltdown over Turkey US relations

Turkey Lira Worsening relations between the US and Turkey have contributed to the lira's free-fall

In a sign the conflict is far from over, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said US tariffs announced last week will stay in place regardless of whether an American pastor detained in Turkey is freed.

Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is responsible for the failed 2016 coup, as well as for supporting the PKK.

Erdogan also moved to strengthen ties with Germany, Turkey's biggest economic partner by far, accounting for about 37 billion euros ($42 billion) in bilateral trade past year.

The Turkish lira strengthened three percent on Thursday before a presentation by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak to investors, shrugging off USA comments ruling out the removal of steel tariffs on Turkey even if it frees a US pastor.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the USA administration".

"If [the US] has the iPhone, there's Samsung on the other side", Mr Erdogan said, referring to Apple and its South Korean competitor.

Despite the rise, Turkey's currency has lost nearly a third of its value against the dollar since January, pushing up the price of everyday items and raising fears that its weakness could infect other emerging market currencies.

Turkey announced on Wednesday a string of new tariffs ranging from 50 to 140 per cent on rice, alcohol and cars from the U.S.in retaliation for Trump's move to slap taxes on Turkish steel and aluminum imports last week.

The local court in Izmir rejected Brunson's appeal to be released while his trial is pending. The sanctions have sent the Turkish lira into a tailspin.

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In a televised speech on Friday, he called on Turkish citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira, calling it an "economic war".

The Turkish government on Wednesday announced new tariffs on US imports, ratcheting up its trade war with the USA the same day a local court denied an American pastor's appeal to be released from house arrest.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders also made clear that the United States had no plan to remove the steel tariffs if Brunson were released though it could remove those imposed on two senior Turkish officials.

Turkey's currency, the lira, bounced back sharply Wednesday morning, falling back below six per dollar.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump is deeply frustrated by Turkey's refusal to release Brunson, as well other US citizens.

"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".

Mr Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release. "These are appeals that require fast decision making because they are related to an individual's freedoms", Brunson's attorney Ismail Cem Halavurt told Reuters.

Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott USA electronic goods like iPhones, even though he has himself been photographed repeatedly using the product himself.

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