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Erdogan says USA set deadline for pastor's release

Erdogan says USA set deadline for pastor's release

Turkey says doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium announced by US President Donald Trump are against the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The statement followed Trump's tweet on Friday that he has authorized doubling the tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Turkey to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, Erdogan repeated his call to Turks - for the third day in a row - to sell euros and dollars to shore up lira.

Ahead of the U.S. data, Turkish President Erdogan's speech due at 1100 GMT could also fuel some fresh volatility around the European currency.

Prior to Trump's announcement, the Turkish lira fell to its lowest point ever against the US dollar on Friday.

Turkey was hit by a financial shockwave this week as its currency nosedived over concerns about the government's economic policies and a trade dispute with the United States. "Exit of funds from the Turkish financial markets can be an opportunity for the Egyptian economy as a competitive market in the same region".

Ironically, the rial strengthened in the two days leading up to the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tuesday, after the government announced new foreign exchange measures giving greater freedom to trade dollars at market rates.

The president, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to bring down Turkey's economy, appealed to his countrymen's patriotism.

The White House said Mr Trump had authorised them under a section of USA trade law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds.

"Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging", said Erdogan, who warned of "economic war".

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"These are the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of an economic war waged against our country", he said.

"Nevertheless, we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table - this can and should be resolved through dialogue and cooperation".

Recent diplomatic engagements - first between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his USA counterpart Mike Pompeo in Singapore last Friday, followed by a visit by Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and his entourage to Washington on Wednesday - seemed to have failed to resolve the deadlock.

While Turkey and the United States are at odds over a host of issues, the most pressing disagreement for Trump has been the fate of American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial on terrorism charges for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for a failed coup in 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the lira's drop is a "political plot" against Ankara, and his country will begin to seek for new partners.

A Turkish delegation visited Washington for talks this week but left with no signs of a breakthrough.

The Treasury Department previously sanctioned two Turkish officials involved in Brunson's detainment at the start of August.

In an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Friday, Erdogan criticized the tensions with the USA, saying a "failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies".

Erdogan is also upset at the protection U.S. coalition forces are providing the Kurds in Syria, against the invading Turkish army. Gulen denies the allegation.

Turkish authorities are seeking a 20-year prison sentence for USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested two years ago and is accused of being linked to the PKK Kurdish guerrilla organization and to cleric Fetullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States and whom Ankara blames for the failed coup against Erdogan in 2016.