In retaliation, Turkey raises tariffs on US imports

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Ankara : Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree to raise tariffs on certain US imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco, an official report said on Wednesday.

According to the decree published in the official gazette, Turkey raised the tariffs on passenger cars to 120 per cent, on alcoholic drinks to 140 per cent and on leaf tobacco to 60 per cent. Duties on cosmetics, rice and coal were also increased.

The move was a response to Washington's "economic attack" on Turkey, the country's Vice President Fuat Oktay tweeted.

The US doubled tariffs on steel and aluminium imports last week over Turkey's refusal to extradite American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in the country nearly two years ago over terrorism allegations.

The impasse led to the depreciation of the Turkish lira, which lost 25 per cent of its value in August and impacted on other countries' currencies as well, including the Indian rupee, as investors feared the lira's wobbles could spread to developing nations.

Explaining the new tariffs, Oktay said the rises were ordered "within the framework of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the US administration".

Turkey previously said it would boycott US electronic products.

Erdogan accused the US of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor". But the US insists that Brunson, a long-time Turkish resident who ran the tiny Izmir Resurrection Church, was "a victim of unfair and unjust detention".

He also said that Turkey was taking measures to stabilize the economy and should not "give in to the enemy" by investing in foreign currencies.

Since January, the Turkish lira has lost more than 34 per cent of its value against the dollar, pushing up the price of everyday items.