Trump says no concessions on Turkey tariffs

Ebru Özkan a Turkish woman arrested in Israel on suspicion of aiding Hamas

Ebru Özkan a Turkish woman arrested in Israel on suspicion of aiding Hamas

Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with the United States "instantly" by freeing a detained American pastor, President Donald Trump's national security adviser said, adding that a Qatari cash infusion would not help Ankara's economy.

Trump explained that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had double-crossed him over a deal to release Andrew Brunson, an evangelical Protestant pastor, whom Ankara detained in October 2016, on the implausible charge that Brunson had been part of a coup attempt led by a Muslim cleric.

Trump thought that in exchange for Ozkan's release, Turkey would free pastor Andrew Brunson.

"Well, I think what they pledged is utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey's economy".

Criticising the state of USA relations with Ankara, Trump this month authorised a doubling of duties on aluminum and steel imported from Turkey, making them 20 percent and 50 percent respectively. "There will be no concessions", Trump said. In exchange, Turkey would release Brunson and other Americans being held in Turkey, the senior official claimed.

Trump's imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum that hit the European Union in late May led to steep retaliatory tariffs by Ankara.

But Trump refused to consider that the tariffs may hurt the European economy.

The big concession that Erdogan wants from the U.S. involves Halk Bank, a major state-owned Turkish financial institution. "I expect him to let this very innocent and wonderful man and great father and great Christian out of Turkey", Trump told the Reuters news agency.

US Has ‘Addiction To Sanctions’, Says Iran
Washington has withdrawn from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear program. The group will be led by Brian Hook, who is now the State Department's director of policy planning.

"Until now I had a very good relationship as you know with the president", Trump said.

"I got that person out for him".

Turkey announced equivalent sanctions on US-produced goods, amounting to $1bn in total. But it can't be a one-way street. "It's no longer a one-way street for the United States", he said.

Washington and Ankara are locked in a bitter feud over the almost two-year jailing of Andrew Brunson over disputed terror charges.

Trump had suggested earlier this month he would be willing to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani if the Iranians wanted to discuss the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Trump said it did not matter to him whether he met Iran's leaders and that there had been no USA outreach toward Iran to discuss talks.

Turkish government officials did not comment on Trump's remarks when they spoke after prayers to mark the start of the festival.

Halk Bank faces potentially crippling United States fines for its role in helping Iran evade sanctions, and Turkey wants Washington to provide relief for the bank. Trump again talked up the warmth of his relationship with Xi, but said little progress has been made on his drive to rebalance the US-Chinese trade relationship.

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