President Donald Trump said he’s authorized doubling some metals tariffs on Turkey, citing poor relations with the NATO ally amid an escalating conflict over its detention of an American pastor.
"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" Trump said on Twitter.
A Turkish delegation met with officials from the departments of State and Treasury earlier this week as both sides sought a way out of the rising tensions.
The meetings came as Turkey seeks to stanch an economic meltdown amid fallout from U.S. sanctions imposed last week over the continued detention of the pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was jailed on espionage and terrorism suspicions more than two years ago and recently released to house arrest.
The move against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government also highlights the disconnect between Turkey and the U.S. as they fail to negotiate their way out of an array of conflicts. Relations used to be based on strategic interests, but more recently, they’ve been dominated by discord over alliances in Syria’s civil war, Ankara’s strengthening ties with Moscow, and its uneasy position within NATO.
Shares of Turkish steelmakers Kardemir Karabuk Demir Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS and Eregli Demir ve Celik Fabrikalari TAS plunged as much as 8% and 9.9%, respectively, after Trump’s tweet. The lira slid to a fresh record low against the U.S. dollar.
By Terrence Dopp