US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph:( Reuters )
Turkey on Friday warned a move announced by US President Donald Trump to double steel and aluminium tariffs on the country would harm ties, vowing retaliation against a measure it said was against WTO rules.
"The United States should know that the only result that such sanctions and pressure will bring... will be harming our relationship as allies," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"As with all measures taken against Turkey, the necessary response will be given," it said, adding the move "disregarded" rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It added that Trump's comments, made on Twitter, were "not possible to reconcile with state seriousness".
After the US imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson, President Trump went a step ahead on friday and doubled steel and aluminium tariffs against president Erdogan's regime.
Trump said aluminium tariffs will be 20 per cent and steel at a steep 50 per cent. Trump's imposition of sanction on a Nato ally is being seen as an unprecedented step by the US.
"I have just authorised doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong dollar," Trump said on Twitter, adding,"our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"
Trump's announcement had pushed the Turkish lira to new historic lows against the dollar, with the currency at one point shedding almost a quarter of its value within the day.
Turkish authorities have arrested US pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charge even as the Trump administration has been trying to get him back. Turkey imposed tit-for-tat sanctions on the US after it targetted the Turkish ministers.
On Wednesday, Turkish officials had met top US administration officials including deputy secretary of state John Sullivan as they discussed various matters including pastor Brunson.
Trump had also earlier accused Turkey of taking a "very small case and jeopardising Turkish-American relations and Turkish-American friendship."
The US has also expressed anguish at Turkey trying to buy defence equipment from Russia, a staunch enemy of NATO. The US had earlier imposed arms sanctions against Turkey in 1974 but had lifted it four years ago.