Trump slaps steeper tariffs on Turkey after currency freefall

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he is doubling tariffs on Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked citizens to convert foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, into local lira — leading to a dramatic drop in the Turkish currency.

"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 tweeted.

The lira is at an all-time low against the dollar, according to CNBC. The lira has been dropping for the past several days, which Erdoğan has said is a "campaign" against Turkey, according to the Associated Press.

Trump’s announcement of steeper tariffs is his administration’s latest hit against Turkey.

The president on Aug. 1 issued sanctions against longtime NATO ally after Turkey continued to detain American pastor Andrew Brunson. Trump warned Erdoğan in July to release the pastor or they would suffer sanctions.

Brunson was arrested in October 2016 by Turkey’s government on charges of aiding a terrorist organization and for espionage. The U.S. and Turkish officials met this week to discuss Brunson’s release, but a resolution was not reached.

Tension between the two countries has grown over the past couple of years due to a variety of disagreements, ranging from how to deal with Kurdish fighters in Syria to Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian rule.

Erdoğan has also grown frustrated with the U.S. for not handing over Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric whom the Turkish leader alleges was behind a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

Trump throughout his tenure in the White House has punished other countries, including U.S. allies, with his trade actions.

Earlier this year, Trump imposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China, to which they have retaliated against. The U.S., however, last month announced they will pause any new tariffs on the EU and work to resolve existing differences over trade.

The president’s actions have created deep concerns from lawmakers who worry Trump is creating dangerous trade wars.

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