Turkey in danger zone as Trump raises tariffs

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Maizel recommends that investors stick with dollar-denominated issues, due to the volatility of emerging market currencies, such as the Turkish lira.

This prompted yet another tweet from President Trump, this time announcing the actual authorization of the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum for Turkey. Trump said in an early morning post on Twitter.

Erdogan replied that Turkey will not back down despite Trump's sanctions policy and said he would answer with mirror retaliation.

Financial upheaval there risks further destabilising an already volatile region.

The U.S. media widely pointed to the current state of Turkish-American relations and the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges. The White House said he had authorized them under Section 232 of US trade law, which allows for tariffs on national security grounds.

"Over the years, Turkey rushed to America's help whenever necessary", he said, listing a few occasions the two countries acted together.

The prospect of a deal for Brunson's release appeared high as Turkish officials traveled to Washington this week, but the deal apparently fell apart over last-minute Turkish demands.

The Turkish financial crisis set off a wave of selling across emerging markets, reviving the spectre of contagion that has been the sector's Achilles heel for decades.

Erdogan said during an address to supporters: "Change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks".

Indeed, much of the recent concern has been fuelled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's economic policy.

The lira has been under sustained pressure on foreign exchanges, dropping by nearly 50% against the dollar in the past 12 months.

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Erdogan framed Turkey's currency crisis as a "national battle" against economic enemies, namely the USA, saying "if they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah".

"Some countries have engaged in behavior that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice", he said.

"The surge in Turkish inflation, bond yields and the even more dramatic plunge in Turkey's exchange rate in 2018 suggest that the country could now be in danger of heading for a bust", Berenberg economist Carsten Hesse said. "But if the United States can't handle relations with Turkey ... then a further deepening of relations with Moscow is an option. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies", Erdogan said.

Erdogan also Friday held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing economic and trade issues as well as the Syria crisis, the Turkish presidency said.

One of the hard issues affecting U.S. It is host to an X-band radar, a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defence system again Iran.

The government has political and economic options at its disposal to try to calm the currency's volatility, to keep inflation - now about 15 percent but climbing - under control and to reassure investors.

Turkey's woes also shook world markets, pushing down stock indexes.

And of course, Brunson and the other detainees, including local staff of the USA diplomatic mission and various persons thought in some cases to be Gulenist Turkish-Americans, would have to be released. Gulen denies the allegation.

Mr Trump intensified his spat with Turkey by imposing the higher tariffs, putting unprecedented economic pressure on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and deepening turmoil in Turkish financial markets. He offered no further details.

It could impose capital controls on forex transfers or even call on the International Monetary Fund for bailout help, although economists regard the former an extreme measure with only marginal probability and the latter unlikely given one of Mr Erdogan's proudest achievements was paying off all of Turkey's International Monetary Fund debt in 2013.

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