Trump OKs stiffer tariffs on Turkish metals as lira plummets

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday slammed the crash of the lira amid a widening spat with the United States as a "political plot" and said his country would instead seek new markets and new allies.

Erdogan appealed to a crowd in the city of Bayburt to exchange dollars and gold for Turkish lira to prop up the plunging currency.

U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a round of sanctions on August 1, preventing the Turkish justice an interior ministries from doing business with U.S. businesses.

Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated further this week as US President Donald Trump raised tariffs against Turkish aluminium to 20% and to 50% in terms of steel.

Turkey's trade ministry said the tariffs were against World Trade Organisation rules.

"We will say goodbye to those, who sacrifice its strategic partnership and alliance with a country of 81 million people on the altar of its relations with terror organizations", he said.

The penalties also bar any USA transactions with the two men.

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.

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A delegation led by Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal failed to secure a deal last Wednesday in talks in Washington on a number of issues including Brunson.

In response to Turkey's refusal to free Brunson, the United States placed sanctions on two Turkish officials. "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging", said Erdogan, who warned of "economic war".

"I'm not aware of any prior administration using tariffs in this way, and there's a very simple reason: because they're an incredibly blunt instrument that often can have blowback on American workers and consumers as we've seen in the China context", said Ned Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who also served as a National Security Council spokesman during the Obama administration.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times Friday, Erdogan wrote "failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies".

"Hopefully we will overcome this disaster and we will also successfully overcome this economic war", Erdogan said.

Without naming countries, Mr Erdogan said supporters of a failed military coup two years ago, which Ankara said was organised by a US-based Muslim cleric, were attacking Turkey in new ways since his re-election two months ago. Gulen has denied the allegation. "The U.S. has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions & bullying or entire world will unite - beyond verbal condemnations - to force it to".

He reiterated his call on citizens to change US Dollars and Euros for the Turkish Lira in the face of a sharp plunge his country's currency witnessed in financial markets this week.

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