Turkey raises tariffs on some US imports in response to economic ‘attacks’


© Murad Sezer / Reuters

Turkey is raising tariffs on imports of certain goods from the US, including cars, alcohol and tobacco. The Turkish vice president says it’s a response to Washington’s ‘deliberate attacks’ on the country’s economy.

The list of goods subject to the newly raised tariffs was published in the Turkish Official Gazette early on Wednesday. Commenting on the new measure, Vice-President Fuat Oktay tweeted that it was taken “under the principle of reciprocity” against “the US administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy.”

The Turkish national currency, the lira, has been plunging as Washington doubled its tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from the country to 20 and 50 percent, respectively. So far this year, it has lost 40 percent of its value against the US dollar, dipping to a historic low.

The Turkish government previously said it was taking measures to counteract the massive hit, without specifying their nature. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of seeking “to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down.” He also urged Turks to ditch the dollar to support the lira.

Turkey and the US are currently at loggerheads over the arrest of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges in Turkey. Brunson was detained in connection with the failed military coup to oust the country’s president in 2016, which Ankara blames on religious leader Fethullah Gulen, who is living in self-imposed exile in the US. Brunson is facing up to 35 years in prison if found guilty, and Washington wants him freed. In July, US President Donald Trump vowed to impose sanctions on Turkey unless Brunson is liberated. The White House announced sanctions on the Turkish justice and interior ministers, prohibiting US citizens from doing business with them.

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