Qatar pledges to invest $15 billion into Turkey

Jermaine Castillo
August 16, 2018

Turkey on Wednesday rejected the U.S.' appeal for an American pastor's release from detention, Turkish media reported.

On Wednesday, Qatar pledged $15 billion to help Turkey through its economic and currency crisis.

Investors are looking for substantive economic policy changes by Erdogan - namely the acceptance of higher interest rates - whereas the president has so far reacted mainly by blaming foreign powers, particularly the United States, which he says is waging an "economic war".

Turkey has been thrown into crisis mode over the past week after US President Donald Trump doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on the country, sending the value of the lira into free-fall.

A decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the tariffs on cars to 120%, on alcoholic drinks to 140% and on leaf tobacco to 60%.

A Turkish court on Wednesday rejected a new appeal to free U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detention has sparked a severe crisis in relations between Turkey and the United States, local media reported.

Turkey's economic crisis has deeper roots beyond the market reaction triggered by rising tensions with the US.

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Erdogan said on Tuesday the country will boycott U.S. electronic goods in response to USA measures meant to punish Turkey.

Moves by the central bank to ensure Turkish banks have liquidity and a planned conference call by Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan´s son-in-law on Thursday have gone some way to giving reassurance to investors.

"Turkey responds to the recent US sanctions with additional tariffs worth of 533 million dollars", state-run Anadolu agency quoted Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan as saying.

The escalating feud between the longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies is playing out against a backdrop of economic tumult in Turkey, which has seen steep drops in the country's currency, the lira.

"If (the United States) have the iPhone, there's Samsung on the other side", he said, referring to USA giant Apple's iconic phone and the top South Korean brand.

The lira's initial slide came amid rising tensions between the United States and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over trade.

Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, told CNN on Wednesday that an appeal for Brunson's full release had been rejected.

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Erdogan has warned Turkey could seek alternative partners, pointing to Ankara's strong ties with Russia, Iran and China.

The state-run Qatar News Agency also confirmed the investment.

Ever-increasing USA sanctions against Russian Federation could make this more convenient, as access to U.S. dollars on the global foreign currency markets isn't always convenient.

Qatar's Emir approved the package of economic projects, investments and deposits after a meeting in Ankara with President Tayyip Erdogan.

The Qatari money will be channeled into banks and financial markets, a Turkish government source told Reuters.

In the wake of United States sanctions on Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to point out that it's in Germany's interest for Turkey to have a strong economy.

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