Turkey ups tariffs, says it's willing to talk to U.S.

Andrew Brunson the US pastor accused of being a spy for Kurdish separatists arrives home in Izmir after being released from prison in July on house arrest

Turkey has doubled tariffs on some U.S. imports - such as passenger cars, alcohol and tobacco - in what Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said was a response to deliberate United States attacks on the Turkish economy.

"The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the U.S.administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Fuat Oktay, Turkey's vice president said, according to numerous translations of a tweet he sent in Turkish.

Turkey entered into an understanding to the Russian defense system despite being a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, and has been increasingly cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, alarming both the U.S. and EU.

Against the backdrop of these developments, British Financial Times reported that it is likely that Erdogan would turn to Qatar and request financial assistance from Doha to save the Turkish lira, nevertheless the newspaper reported that the Turkish president would eventually give in to the pressure exerted by Trump and release the priest who has been held under false pretenses.

Qatar poured funds into the country the same day Turkey doubled tariffs on some USA imports, such as cars, alcohol and tobacco, one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of iPhones.

Pastor Andrew Brunson's lawyer renewed an appeal on Tuesday for Brunson's release from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted.

The US also blocked its sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey as the country's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday, vowing stronger cooperation - hinting at a possible change in the status quo on the region's security. Ankara more than doubled the tariff on USA rice to 50%, increased the United States coal tariff to 14% from 10% and more than tripled the tariff on cars to 120%. But she added that Turkey's economic problems "are a part of a long-term trend, something of its own making and not the result of any actions the United States has taken".

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According to International Monetary Fund statistics, the US was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey in 2017 with $12 billion of imports. Turkey's exports to the United States previous year amounted to $8.7-billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly asked for Mr. Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court.

Some analysts have predicted economic turmoil in Turkey for many months as inflation soared and the lira fell.

"We don't like those who don't like us", said Rifat Tepe, an electronic goods seller in Istanbul who said he will heed a call by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop selling American electronic products.

Investors seemed to focus on this and underlying economic problems over the exchange of tariffs with the US, which analysts said was unlikely to cause serious pain.

Erdogan said on Tuesday the country will boycott U.S. electronic goods in response to USA measures meant to punish Turkey.

"Every product that we buy in foreign currency from outside, we will produce them here and sell overseas", Erdogan said in a speech, according to The New York Times.

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