Trump's decision to double tariffs on Turkey 'brutal'

Trump vows to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey

Turkey's floundering economy exacerbated by Trump tariffs

The sudden drop came when Donald Trump announced on Twitter he was doubling U.S. import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

Trump tweeted Friday that he authorized raising tariffs on Turkish steel to 50 percent and aluminum to 20 percent as the country's currency falls rapidly against the US dollar.

The Turkish president called on Turks to exchange dollars, euros and gold for Turkish lira. Import taxes for aluminum will be 20 percent.

Ivo Daalder, a former United States ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs think-tank, said Turkey could grind decision-making at Nato's headquarters in Brussels to a halt if the dispute with Trump got out of hand.

Officials from Mr Erdogan's office said the two men "expressed pleasure" that relations between Turkey and Russian Federation were progressing "positively" amid joint defence and energy projects.

Also on Friday, relations between the United States and Turkey have worsened over the fundamentalist Muslim-majority country's detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested by authorities during a post-military coup attempt in 2016.

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. Turkey answered the March tariff announcement by placing its own tariffs on $267 million of USA goods.

The plunge in the value of the currency coupled with an inflation rate of almost 16% could cause a lot of damage to Turkey's economy.

The tensions with Washington have, for investors, underscored Turkey's authoritarian trajectory under Erdogan.

On Friday, the Turkish currency plunged to another record low amid concerns over Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies and a diplomatic row with the United States that has led to sanctions.

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Shares of Turkish steelmakers Kardemir and Erdemir plunged as much as eight percent and 9.9 percent respectively after Trump's tweet.

On Friday afternoon Erdogan dug in again, calling for citizens to convert out of dollars and gold and buy the lira to help fight a "national struggle".

Earlier this month, the USA slapped sanctions against Turkey's ministers of justice and interior in response to Brunson's detention.

The tweet is another salvo in the growing dispute between Turkey and the U.S. The lira fell further as Erdogan spoke.

Iran has also suffered a major tumbling of its currency this year partly over the reimposition of USA sanctions after Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal.

The ECB is concerned that the contagion will result in Turkish borrowers defaulting on foreign currency loans, which make up about 40 percent of the Turkish banking sector's assets, according to the Financial Times.

The nominally independent central bank has defied pressure over the last few weeks to hike interest rates in the face of high inflation and a collapsing currency.

The country's president told a crowd of supporters in a Turkish town on the Black Sea coast: "You can never bring this nation in line with the language of threats". The U.S. responded by filing a complaint against the country with the World Trade Organization.

Although Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with Washington and Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said "we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table".

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