USA tariffs to stay on Turkey, Qatar offers Ankara aid

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Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained amid Turkey's detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The United States doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium last week, which contributed to a tumble in the Turkish lira.

The lira recovered on Tuesday from near-record lows, helped by liquidity measures from the Turkish central bank.

The turmoil has raised fears of a looming economic crisis in Turkey and prompted alarm that foreign investors in the country, including Qatar, could be hit in the fallout.

Turkey's finance minister sparked a recovery in the lira after he addressed thousands of worldwide investors, pledging to protect beleaguered local banks and cut public spending to prevent the country defaulting on its loans.

Despite the political tensions, the lira rebounded 6 percent on Wednesday, strengthening to about 6.0 to the dollar.

"We don't like those who don't like us", said Rifat Tepe, an electronic goods seller in Istanbul who said he will heed a call by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop selling American electronic products. A lower court earlier on Wednesday turned down his lawyer's request to free him, and the U.S. - which rejects Turkey's accusations - has said it won't negotiate until he's released.

Back then the Turkish ambassador to Qatar noted: "Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was the first leader to call President Erdogan and express support to our government and Turkish people". "Turkish-Qatari relations are based on solid foundations of true friendship and solidarity", he said.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on August 1 slapped sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers, citing their roles in the detention of a U.S. pastor.

The White House said on Wednesday that it would not remove steel tariffs on Turkey, appearing to give Ankara little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

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Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some USA goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction".

The dispute with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner the United States, focused on a tit-for-tat tariff row and Turkey's detention of Brunson, helped turn the currency's steady decline into meltdown.

Washington has new sanctions ready to go if Turkey persists in refusing to release a jailed American pastor, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

He also made his now famous speech on the night of the July 2016 failed coup calling citizens out into the street through FaceTime, an iPhone app.

The lira has clawed back some ground over the last two days - after losing nearly a quarter of its value on Friday and Monday - but economists are warning that Turkey must urgently address its economic imbalances to avoid more troubles ahead.

Mr Albayrak said Turkey's banks are "healthy and strong" and that implementing structural reforms and maintain tight monetary policy to fight inflation remain a priority.

Turkey on Wednesday said it was hiking tariffs on imports of several key USA products in retaliation for American sanctions against Ankara, as a bitter dispute between the two allies that sent the Turkish lira into freefall showed no sign of ending.

Erdogan spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, the Turkish presidency said while he is due to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

A defiant Erdogan said the Americans "have their dollar but we have our God".

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