President Trump said Friday he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, more than a week after he imposed sanctions against two top Turkish officials over the country’s refusal to free an American pastor held for nearly two years.
Mr. Trump in a tweet said the U.S. would impose aluminum tariffs of 20% and steel tariffs of 50% on Turkey.
“Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” he wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
The Treasury Department last week moved to prevent Americans from doing business with Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior, both of whom the U.S. accused of “serious human rights abuses” for their roles in detaining Pastor Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old North Carolina native who was arrested three months after a failed July 2016 military coup.
Turkish officials have accused Mr. Brunson of aiding the group accused of orchestrating the coup and another Kurdish separatist movement, charges that the American pastor and U.S. officials have denied.
Mr. Brunson’s allies accused Turkey of holding the pastor as a political bargaining chip, and his case has become a cause célèbre among evangelical Christian groups.
During high-level talks in Washington this week, U.S. and Turkish officials were unable to break through the impasse that has pushed Turkey’s economy into turmoil, U.S. officials said. Turkey’s currency has plunged amid the crisis amid fears that the U.S. could take tougher steps before the standoff is resolved.
Mr. Brunson’s fate has become the most polarizing issue dividing the U.S. and Turkey, two North Atlantic Treaty Organization members that have repeatedly clashed over Washington’s policy in the Middle East.
Source: Dow Jones