Turkish lira rallies as Ankara increases tariffs on United States imports

Samantha Lee  Business Insider

Samantha Lee Business Insider

Brunson is now on trial and held on house arrest, with few indications that Turkish officials intend to comply with the demands - despite USA sanctions that were leveled against them two weeks ago.

Brunson's lawyer Cem Halavurt told AFP that a higher court would also discuss his appeal for Brunson's release.

Brunson, who faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted, has always maintained his innocence.

The Trump administration imposed its own financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on the country earlier this month as President Donald Trump tries to secure the Brunson's release. A higher court was however, was scheduled to review the appeal, the agency said.

Brunson was arrested and indicted on espionage and terror-related charges back in 2016 in connection with a failed military coup operation.

USA officials maintain there is no credible evidence against Brunson - who has been held for nearly two years - and the Trump administration has negotiated for weeks to secure his release. The US government is demanding that Turkey release Brunson, saying he's being held captive based on false accusations of spying.

The decree, signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raised the tariffs on passenger cars to 120 percent, on alcoholic drinks to 140 percent and on leaf tobacco to 60 percent.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey said it was increasing tariffs on imports of certain United States products in response to American sanctions on Ankara that caused the value of the lira to plunge.

National Security Adviser John Bolton met at the White House on Monday with Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic, but the discussion reportedly did not result in any substantive progress.

Some analysts predicted Beijing, while embroiled in a trade war with the U.S., may offer some financial assistance to Turkey, such as buying yuan-denominated bonds.

Erdogan has reacted to the financial instability by blaming foreign powers, in particularly the United States, a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, which he says is waging an "economic war" as part of a plot to harm Turkey.

"Although China does not want to upset the United States, it is in China's national interest to cooperate with Turkey, which is still a geo-strategically important country between Europe and Asia", he said.

Jurgen Odenius, economic counsellor at PGIM Fixed Income, said: "The root cause of the crisis lies in a leverage-financed domestic demand boom that increased the external financing requirement of Turkey's corporations, banks, and government ..."

"We view the policy of sanctions as unlawful and illegitimate, driven mostly by a desire to dominate everywhere and in everything, dictate policies and call shots in worldwide affairs", said Lavrov, predicting "such a policy can't be a basis for normal dialogue and can't last long". It is not just Turkey's request.

Kılıç and 10 other human rights activists, including Amnesty International Turkey's director, İdil Eser, went on trial in October accused of aiding groups that Turkey describes as "armed terrorist organizations".

Explaining the new tariffs, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay said the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the U.S. administration".

"Turkey is also putting more importance on European Union countries to avoid a full confrontation with the West", he said.

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.

In a tweet on July 26, Trump called Brunson a "great Christian, family man and wonderful human being" and said he "should be released immediately".

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