Qatar pledges $15 billion to invest in Turkey

Spokesperson for President Erdogan Ibrahim Kalin

Washington warned more economic pressures may be in store for Turkey if it refuses to release Brunson, a White House official said on August 15.

Local Turkish social media has been awash this week with footage of people smashing their iPhones in protest of US President Donald Trump and his recent sanctions on Turkey.

The investment, which will be directed to Turkey's banks and financial markets, was announced after Qatar's Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani held talks in Ankara with Erdogan.

Lira's downward spiral has increased the already-high inflation in Turkey, which is nearing 16 percent.

The crisis came days after US President Donald Trump announced via Twitter a doubling of steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as Washington pushes Ankara to release Evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held on terrorism charges for almost two years.

Turkey's relations with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States have soured over the detention of an American pastor on terror-related charges.

In response to Trump's tariffs, Turkish officials said they will impose a 50 percent tax on USA rice, 140 percent on spirits, 60 percent on tobacco and 120 percent on cars while increasing duties on a variety of other goods. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that Washington will withdraw sanctions on Turkey if Brunson was set free.

The flailing Turkish lira rebounded slightly on Thursday, on the heels of Qatar's announcement that it would earmark $15 billion for deposits and investment projects to be made in Turkey.


The lira had already rebounded about 8 percent on Tuesday on news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure global investors.

Additionally, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday visited Ankara, where he said Moscow has been exploring for some time using national currencies to settle bilateral trade deals with Turkey and other countries.

"I think the dollar is strengthening as a result of diverging monetary policies", said Oliver Pursche, Chief Market Strategist Of Bruderman Brothers In New York.

Since January, the Turkish lira has lost more than 34% of its value against the dollar, pushing up the price of everyday items.

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

As a court in the western Turkish city of Izmir rejected a new appeal to free Brunson on Wednesday, spoksman Kalin said the U.S. needs to be respectful of the judicial procedures in Turkey.

"The US is our major trade partner but it's not the only one", Pekcan, the trade minister, was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.

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