Wednesday 15 August 2018 - 08:58

Turkey raises tariffs on some US products in response to economic war

Story Code : 744735
The file photo shows a cargo ship sailing in the Bosporus Strait, Turkey.
The file photo shows a cargo ship sailing in the Bosporus Strait, Turkey.

According to a presidential decree released on Wednesday, the tariffs on goods such as cosmetics, rice and coal have been raised to 100 percent while those on alcoholic drinks, passenger cars and leaf tobacco have reached 140, 120 and 60 percent, respectively.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a post on his official Twitter account that the new tariffs came within the framework of the reciprocity principle.

“The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the US administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy,” he said.

Ankara and Washington are at odds on multiple fronts, including the Syria policy and Turkey's intent to buy Russian defense systems.

Relations between the two sides have further soured over Ankara’s imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Last month, US President Donald Trump threatened to “impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment” of the evangelical Christian pastor, calling for Brunson’s immediate release.

The pastor has been accused of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement, which Turkey blames for the 2016 failed military coup. On July 25, Brunson was placed under house arrest after almost two years in a Turkish jail. 

US and Turkish officials held talks in Washington in a bid to resolve the crisis over the detained pastor, but the discussions concluded without any obvious progress.

The US Treasury Department on August 1 announced sanctions on Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.

On August 10, Trump approved a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, saying Washington's ties with Ankara were “not good at this time."

The punitive measures pushed Turkey’s currency lira into freefall and rattled the country’s financial markets.

Erdogan said Turkey is the target of an economic war waged by the US, calling on citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for the lira.

“It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor,” Erdogan said. “I am calling on those in America again. Shame on you, shame on you. You are exchanging your strategic partner in NATO for a priest.”

On Tuesday, the Turkish president has said his country would boycott US electronic goods, including Apple’s iPhone device.