Turkey's economy suffers amid USA sanctions and tariffs

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Angela Merkel in Brussels

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan with German leader Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani have expressed support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid escalated tensions between Ankara and Washington.

"The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the United States administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said, according to numerous translations of a tweet he sent in Turkish.

The tit-for-tat tariffs came amid Turkey's rejection of a US demand that it release American pastor Andrew Brunson, detained on espionage and terrorism-related charges.

Commenting on the move, the USA leader said: "I have just authorised a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downwards against our very strong dollar".

The Turkish government doubled its tariffs on imports of American cars and alcoholic beverages to 120 and 140 percent, respectively, CNN reported.

Turkey is boosting tariffs on imports of certain US products, including rice, cars, alcohol, coal and cosmetics - escalating a feud with the United States that has helped trigger a currency crisis.

"In response to deliberated and continued trade tensions, Turkey has again raised tariffs on key US imports", Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said in a statement.

The Turkish lira has plummeted to record lows in recent weeks and has dropped 42 percent so far this year, a reaction to Turkey's strained relations with the United States and Erdogan's economic policies and debt accumulation.

The Eurasian country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced on Tuesday that he would be calling for a boycott of all American electronics sold to the country's residents. "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.

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The U.S. economy is 25 times larger than Turkey's, based on nominal GDP.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that Washington will withdraw sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was set free.

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. "The tariffs are specific to national security".

"Rates have gone up by 10 per cent".

US-Turkish relations have been hurt by a series of issues from diverging interests in Syria, Ankara's plan to buy Russian defence systems and the detention of pastor Brunson.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected his latest appeal to be released from house arrest.

The lira rebounded by 6 per cent, strengthening at one point to less than 6 lira to the dollar, after the banking regulator hit Turkish lenders with new restrictions on extending lira for overseas swap transactions.

'If (the United States) have the iPhone, there's Samsung on the other side, ' he said, referring to USA giant Apple's iconic phone and the top South Korean brand.

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