Qatar promises $15B investment in Turkey - presidency

Gladys Abbott
August 16, 2018

The White House has said that Turkey's tariff hikes on U.S. products in retaliation for sanctions against Ankara were "regrettable" and again called for the immediate release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Investors are anxious not only about Turkey's souring relations with the U.S., a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, but also Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's economic policies and the country's high debt accumulated in foreign currencies.

Vice President Fuat Oktay tweeted that the new tariffs were retaliation for "the deliberate attack of the USA administration on our economy", CNN said.

Turkey and Qatar have traditionally maintained good ties and Ankara stood by Doha after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar a year ago, accusing it of financing terrorism - a charge Doha denies.

There was a clear, sharp drop in the lira's value on Friday after Trump tweeted he was doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, citing a national security threat, and a smaller decline when the US sanctioned Turkey's Interior and Justice Ministers on August 1.

In this Friday, Dec. 25, 2015 photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, holds Turkish citizen Vezir Cakras by the hand while speaking on his mobile phone inside his auto in Istanbul.

The decree said the move brought tariffs to 50 per cent on imports of United States rice, 140 per cent on hard alcoholic drinks like spirits, 60 per cent on leaf tobacco and 60 per cent on cosmetics.

The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a tweet.

The row with Washington has helped to drive the lira to record lows, with the currency losing more than 40 per cent of its value against the dollar this year, prompting central bank liquidity moves to support it.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has found a benefactor to help pull Turkey from the brink of a financial crisis as Qatar promised to invest US$15 billion in the country.

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Trump in his first year in office expressed admiration for Erdogan and even congratulated the Turkish leader after a victory in a controversial referendum, but relations between the two countries have been increasingly fraught.

President Donald Trump personally took part in negotiations aimed at reaching a deal to release Brunson.

It added that Turkey's current economic situation can be managed with decisive and well-calibrated policies, such as "appropriate fiscal consolidation measures" and "working to defuse tensions with the U.S".

President Trump and the US Vice President Mike Pence have sanctioned two Turkish ministers and repeatedly called for the release of the pastor, who was recently moved to house arrest after 21 months in prison.

Turkey said it would not be strong-armed into releasing Brunson, whose second appeal for release was rejected on Wednesday.

State media in Doha said Sheikh Tamim was travelling to Turkey for a "working visit".

"Rates have gone up by 10 percent".

The lira was trading at 6.3 to the dollar, a gain in value on the day of 0.8 percent. "The tariffs are specific to national security", she said.

A Turkish court on Wednesday denied an appeal from pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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