Turkey: ‘Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally’

Turkey: ‘Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally’
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A spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday slammed the White House’s recent tariffs and sanctions on Turkey.

Responding to U.S. national security adviser John Bolton’s claim that a $15 billion investment in Turkey from Qatar was “insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy,” Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters, “His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war.”

“The Trump administration has...established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” Kalin continued.

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Turkey and the U.S. are in the middle of an intense feud over trade and the fate of U.S.-born pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained in Turkey for nearly two years on terrorism and espionage-related charges.

The White House already slapped sanctions on two top Turkish officials over Brunson’s detention, and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House confirms new trade talks with China Hillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE has threatened even more sanctions if he is not quickly released.

The two countries are also imposing tit-for-tat tariffs. The White House put in place tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, while Ankara responded with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, including on cars and coal, and by threatening to boycott U.S. electronics. 

“Turkey has no intention of starting an economic war with any party. It cannot, however, be expected to keep silent in the face of attacks against its economy and judiciary,” Kalin said.

The tariffs have taken a toll on the Turkish economy, with the Turkish lira having lost more than a third of its value against the dollar this year, according to Reuters.