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Turkish Finance Minister: U.S. Tariffs Could Encourage Terrorism

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak speaks during a presentation to announce his economic policy in Istanbul, Turkey August 10, 2018. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Turkey’s finance minister warned on Monday that U.S. tariffs on Turkish products could catalyze terrorism in the region and exacerbate the Syrian refugee crisis.

“These steps taken with political motivation will not only impact the global financial system but also global trade and regional stability,” Minister Berat Albayrak said at a press conference after a meeting in Paris with the French minister of the economy, Bruno Le Maire. “With the damage [the steps] will cause to regional stability, they will unfortunately contribute to chaotic problems that feed terrorism and also the refugee crisis.”

The Turkish lira plummeted to a record low after President TrumpÆs announcement earlier this month that he will double tariffs on aluminum and steel from Turkey, to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

“The language of threats and blackmail cannot be used against this nation,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan remarked about the tariff hike at the time. “Those who assume they can bring us to our knees through economic manipulations don’t know our nation at all.”

The U.S. has scuffled with Turkey over a number of issues in recent months, including policy on Syria, as well as Turkey’s collaring of American Evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being detained on espionage and terrorism charges.

Monday’s meeting between the French and Turkish finance ministers featured an agreement to combat economic and national-security decisions by the American government that they view as threatening.

“The moves by the U.S. are isolating it from its allies; the dollar is losing its status as a global trade tool,” said Albayrak, who is also President Erdogan’s son-in-law.

He added that Turkey would like to enter a new phase in its relationship with the European Union, emphasizing trade.

IN THE NEWS: ‘[WATCH] Trade War Threatens U.S. Economy’ 

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