Trump vows to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey

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Trump says via tweet that the tariff on aluminum imports will be increased to 20 percent and the tariff on steel imports will be raised to 50 percent as the Turkish Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

The latest tariffs stem from the trade fight Trump launched earlier this year with several countries, including Turkey, according to the Washington Post.

While Turkey and the United States are at odds over a host of issues, the most pressing disagreement has been over the detention of US citizens in Turkey, notably Christian pastor Andrew Brunson who is on trial on terrorism charges.

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The detention of Andrew Brunson, who is facing trial on charges related to a failed 2016 coup in Turkey, has caused a major setback in relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Trump announced a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish imports days after a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no progress on the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey on terrorism charges. Washington imposed financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and warned of additional measures.

The lira dropped by over 11 percent in value in one day on Friday morning to almost six lira per dollar.

He said the lira's fall was being exacerbated by fears the central bank "isn't being permitted to raise interest rates".

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"While they have dollars, we have our people, law and Allah", the Turkish leader said addressing citizens in the Black Sea city of Rize.

"The backdrop to endemic lira weakness is of course the familiar one of an economy suffering rising inflation and a burgeoning balance of payments crisis alongside a central bank that has in effect been stripped of much of its independence since Erdogan was re-elected.in June", Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a note. The president, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to bring down Turkey's economy, appealed to his countrymen's patriotism. As the currency drops, Turkish companies and households with debt in foreign currencies see their debts expand.

On August 1 Washington announced sanctions against Turkey's justice and interior ministers, prohibiting U.S. entities and citizens from doing business with them, after threatening to impose "large sanctions" if Ankara failed to free Brunson.

Coupled with an inflation rate of almost 16 per cent, that could cause a lot of damage to the local economy.

Aylin Ertan, a 43-year-old caterer in Ankara, said she was concerned over the future of her small business.

The currency extended its losses to trade at 6.2 to the dollar, a loss of 11.5 percent on the day.

Stock markets across the world retreated as investors watched Turkey with growing unease.

While the diplomatic fight between Turkey and the USA was widely cited as the trigger for the meltdown in the value of the lira, a Financial Times report suggests that the European Central Bank is concerned about some of the region's banks' exposure to Turkey, adding a new twist to the Turkish story.

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