'wrong' to threaten Turkey after Trump doubles tariffs

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

U.S. President Donald Trump said he's authorized doubling some metals tariffs on Turkey, citing poor relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally amid an escalating conflict over its detention of an American pastor.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had remained unusually silent until now as the lira crisis mounted, urged Turks to take matters into their own hands.

The day saw the lira plunge as much as 18% at one point, the biggest one-day drop since Turkey's 2001 financial crisis.

World stock markets fell Friday, particularly in Europe, as investors anxious about the financial stability of Turkey, where the currency has nosedived.

The 64-year-old also highlighted the major difficulty in battling the Kurdish insurgency which has full USA support for fighting Islamic State fighters in northern Syria.

The lira tumbled 14 percent in one day, to 6.51 per dollar - a massive move for a currency that will make the Turkish poorer and further erode global investors' confidence in the country.

Criticizing the state of the USA 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.

The Turkish lira tumbled 16 per cent against the dollar on Friday.

We look the issue straining relations between the USA and Turkey. The debt problem in Turkey is also a bad omen, and could pressure other emerging markets. Financial upheaval there risks further destabilising an already volatile region.

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Washington slapped sanctions on Turkey's interior and justice ministers this week, angering Ankara which responded with the tit-for-tat move, with Turkey saying they will freeze the assets of the USA "justice and interior ministers" last week.

The White House cited national security grounds as the means by which Mr Trump had authorised a 50% steel tariff and 20% aluminium tariff on Turkey. In doing this, he said, "we fight this war of independence.This is the language they understand".

"We are gearing up for trade in national currencies with China, Russia, Iran, Ukraine, which account for the largest bilateral trade volume".

"Turkey's greatest value to the U.S.is not economic but strategic", Singh continued.

In what appears to be a diplomatic riposte, Turkey later said Erdogan had held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss economic ties.

The lira sell-off has deepened worries particularly about whether over-indebted firms will be able to pay back loans taken out in euros and dollars after years of overseas borrowing to fund a construction boom, Reuters reported.

Turkey was hit by a financial shockwave this week as its currency nosedived over concerns about the government's economic policies and a trade dispute with the United States. The US has refused to extradite Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Brunson denies both charges and his supporters argue that these accusations were fabricated by the Turkish government. Trump tweeted Friday morning.

"This could be the most expensive pastor in world history", Sekulow said, referring to the harm being done to Turkey's economy.

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