President Erdogan of Turkey said on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 that Turkey would prohibit the import of U.S. electronics in retaliation against the U.S. sanctions.
The escalating tension between the two NATO allies has contributed to the significant devaluation of Turkey’s currency, the lira, which has lost more than 45% of its value in the past year. On Friday, August 10th President Trump authorized tariffs of 20% on aluminum and 50% on steel.
In response to the U.S. tariff increases, President Erdogan signed a decree on August 15th that raises tax rates on US imports, including passenger cars by 120%; tobacco by 60%; and alcohol by 140%.
The row between the two countries is partly due to the dispute regarding the detained Presbyterian pastor Andrew Brunson. The Trump administration is preparing sanctions on certain Turkish ministers using the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act which allows for the targeting of individuals and entities involved in human rights abuses or corruption across the world.
The United States and Turkey have been at odds over several issues including the fate of Syria, Turkey’s plans to purchase Russian defense systems, and the imprisonment of Pastor Brunson. It is likely that tensions will only get worse before détente, as President Erdogan recently stated that Turkey “will not surrender” and give in to the U.S.-imposed pressure.