Erdogan says Turkey will boycott U.S. electronics, lira steadies

Aug 17, 2018, 02:44
Erdogan says Turkey will boycott U.S. electronics, lira steadies

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal to boycott USA electronic products on Tuesday, Erdogan signed a decree to raise tariffs on some U.S. imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco, state-run Anadolu agency quoted Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan as saying on Wednesday.

The White House official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said "nothing has progressed" thus far on the Brunson case.

Investors have been pulling out of Turkey's markets, sending its stock market and currency plunging.

"Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the US administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", the country's vice president, Fuat Oktay, said in a pair of tweets. The White House last week doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, and Treasury blocked Turkey's interior and justice ministers from the USA financial system.

"We have stood together and will continue to do so", he said, making clear the high-level meeting was meant to communicate unequivocal support for Turkey at a critical juncture.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday that Andrew Brunson is "a very good person and a strong Christian who's done nothing wrong".

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In total, companies in Turkey have $217 billion in net foreign-exchange debt, equal to about a quarter of gross domestic product, according to central bank data. On Tuesday, he said Turkey would boycott USA electronic products.

There was also optimism about better relations with the European Union after a Turkish court released two Greek soldiers pending trial.

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

Asked how the Trump administration would react to any such Turkish boycott, Sanders replied during Tuesday afternoon's briefing, "I certainly don't have a policy announcement on that at this point".

The finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors on Thursday in a conference call for which a ministry official said some far 3,000 people had signed up.

The pastor was released for house arrest on July 25.

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An evangelical from North Carolina, he has been held in Turkey for almost two years over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a failed coup in 2016. On Wednesday, a court in Izmir, where Brunson is on trial, rejected his appeal to be released from house arrest.

USA national security adviser John Bolton on Monday met Turkey's ambassador to the United States to discuss Brunson's detention.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu struck a somewhat conciliatory note, saying Turkey was ready to discuss its issues with the United States as long as there are no threats.

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the currency.

The United States is also considering a fine against Turkey's state-owned Halkbank for allegedly helping Iran evade USA sanctions.

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But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearization. But they did not agree on details, which will be further discussed through working-level talks, the ministry said.

Turkish media reports say Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has told worldwide investors that Turkey would come out of the current "currency fluctuation" stronger than before.

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