Washington, Aug 15 (EFE).- The White House condemned Turkey on Wednesday for increasing tariffs on several US products, considering that the decision, which takes place in the midst of rising trade and diplomatic tensions between the two countries, is a “step in the wrong direction.”
“The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during her daily press conference.
The Turkish government announced earlier Wednesday that the decision was in retaliation for the steel and aluminum tariffs that US President Donald Trump imposed against Turkey last week.
The US tariffs were in turn announced after Ankara rejected Washington’s demands to release US 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 Turkey blames for the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
The rise in tariffs that Turkey announced are set to affect numerous US products including tobacco, nuts, rice, cars, alcohol, cosmetics, wood products, and coal.
Washington’s decision to impose tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum has contributed to the loss of investor confidence in the Eurasian country, while accelerating the depreciation of the Turkish lira, which has plummeted more than 25 percent in August.
Other than the situation of pastor Brunson and the tit-for-tat tariffs, another issue that has contributed to the rise in tensions between the two countries is Turkey’s refusal to stop trading with Iran and to follow Washington’s policy of isolating Tehran through sanctions.