United States to Increase Tariffs on Turkish Aluminum, Steel

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters  File

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters File

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused the USA of exchanging its "strategic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally with a pastor", remarks that questioned why Washington was seeking to free its citizens detained by Ankara, including Pastor Andrew Brunson who has become the eye of a diplomatic storm between the two nations.

"This treatment by America of its strategic partner has annoyed us, it has upset us", Mr Erdogan said.

"If you have dollars, euros or gold under your pillow, go to banks to exchange them for Turkish lira.

Turning to the economic effects of the diplomatic row, President Erdogan said: "If they have the dollar, we have Allah".

Criticizing the state of the US relationship with Ankara, Trump announced on Twitter that he had authorized a doubling of duties on aluminum and steel imported from Turkey, making them 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Trump added that the Turkish currency Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

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Turkey and the USA are now experiencing rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats in years over the almost two-year detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

The move against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government also highlights the disconnect between Turkey and the U.S.as they fail to negotiate their way out of an array of conflicts.

Relations between the two nations are in turmoil, over issues ranging from differing policies on Syria to USA evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who is now being held in Turkey on terrorism charges.

Mr Erdogan has said that supporters of a failed military coup two years ago, which Ankara says was organised by a US-based Muslim cleric, were attacking Turkey in new ways since his re-election two months ago.

And he brushed off the issue of tariffs. He threatened the USA with an "Ottoman slap" if they continue to stand in the way of the Turkish incursion into northwest Syria. "Don't give. What we have is enough for us".

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Trump on July 26 threatened to impose "large sanctions" on Ankara if the government did not immediately let Brunson leave Turkey.

"Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy", Mr. Erdogan wrote in his article.

He declared: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!".

In an op-ed published in New York Times, Erdogan warned Washington not to risk its relations with Ankara, saying otherwise it would look for "new friends and allies".

Turkey's ever combative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to not bow to economic pressure.

Writing on Twitter, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also accused Washington of an "addiction to sanctions and bullying". "We've stood with neighbours before, and will again now", he warned.

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On Friday, Mr Erdogan also held a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the pair discussing economic ties between their two countries.

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