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Qatar promises $15 bn investment in Turkey: presidency

16 August 2018

The White House stance appeared to give Turkish authorities little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges and whose case Turkish officials have said was a matter for the courts. Since tightening his grip on power in June elections, Erdogan's relations with the USA, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, have deteriorated.

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.

In recent days, Qatari supporters of Turkey have begun a public campaign in Doha to change their riyals into lira in an attempt to shore up the plunging Turkish currency.

The lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his refusal to raise interest rates despite high inflation.

Erdoğan has accused the United States of waging economic war against his country and has vowed not to back down.

The lira continued its recovery against the dollar on Wednesday as Turkey increased tariffs on U.S. goods and introduced measures to restrict bets against the embattled currency.

"The tariffs that are in place on steel won't be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson", Sanders said.

Andrew Gardner, a Turkey researcher for Amnesty International, tweeted that the rights group was expecting Kılıç's release by Wednesday evening, following a decision by a court in Istanbul. This follows US sanctions against Turkey's ministers of justice and interior over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Image Zoom
Image Zoom

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin referred to the conflict with the United States in stark terms saying, "Turkey does not favor an economic war, but it can not remain unresponsive when it is attacked".

Turkey announced on Wednesday a string of new tariffs ranging from 50 to 140 per cent on rice, alcohol and cars from the U.S.in retaliation for Trump's move to slap taxes on Turkish steel and aluminum imports last week.

The United States sanctioned Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, blaming both for being involved Brunson's arrest and detention. Erdogan's government has blamed followers of the cleric Gulen for an unsuccessful 2016 coup, leading to a purge of thousands of people from Turkey's civil service, police, military and media and educational institutions, with many of them jailed.

Other foreign policy experts worry that the rift could hurt cooperation between the USA and Turkey in its fight against the Islamic State in Syria. The currency picked up 6 percent and strengthened briefly at just under 6 to the dollar.

In another high-profile case, a Turkish court ruled on August 15 to release from jail Taner Kilic, the local chair of Amnesty International, a researcher from the rights group said.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured global investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting that the country's banks were healthy and strong. The recovery also spilled into the bond market, with yields on 10-year local debt falling 28 basis points to 21.1 percent.

"President Erdogan appears to be playing a risky game if he thinks he can come out on top in this spat with the United States", he commented.

The lira was trading on Wednesday at 6.0 to the dollar, a gain in value on the day of 5.2 percent.

Qatar promises $15 bn investment in Turkey: presidency