Erdogan: US waging "economic war" against Turkey

Berat Albayrak

Berat Albayrak

Turkey's currency dropped some 16 percent to new record lows against the dollar on Friday.

Javad Zarif said there was no meeting planned with U.S. officials including his counterpart Mike Pompeo at the United Nations General Assembly, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported on Saturday.

The diplomatic dispute with the United States was one of the triggers for the turmoil this week.

He had already spent almost two years in jail on charges of espionage and supporting terror groups when he was arrested following an attempted military coup in Turkey.

Washington has demanded the pastor's release and imposed financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and warned of additional measures.

Observers have noted how fighting for Mr Brunson's cause is likely to be popular with Mr Trump's evangelical base ahead of crucial mid-term elections this November.

Trump intensified the alarm on financial markets with a new tweet on the Turkey row.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sharply criticized the United States decision to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports, calling the move as an "operation" and portraying the plunge in the Turkish currency's value as an "economic war" against Turkey.

He added: "Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy".

Turkey exported $1.04 billion (€0.91 billion) worth of steel and $60 billion worth of aluminum to the U.S. in 2017, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

In what appears to be a diplomatic riposte, Turkey later said Mr Erdogan had held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss economic ties.

The Turkish foreign ministry hit back at Trump's comments, saying that the "only result will be harming our relationship" and vowing unspecified retaliation.

Talking in a meeting in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Erdogan said the current fluctuations in the exchange rate could not be explained by logic.

Erdogan has been putting pressure on Turkey's central bank to not raise interest rates in order to keep fueling economic growth.

Analysts say that while Washington's sanctions against Ankara sparked the immediate crisis, Turkey's economy has been risking trouble for a while due to high inflation and the weak lira.

Loyal supporters of President Erdogan are also blaming the U.S. for the lira's crash - as the newly re-elected president appears to maintain his popularity.

Mr Erdogan also remained defiant, as he urged the Turkish people to exchange foreign currency or gold for lira. "This is a domestic and national struggle".

In what appears to be a diplomatic riposte, Turkey later said Erdoğan had held a phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss economic ties, suggesting it might gravitate further away from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies toward cooperation with Russia, whose relations with the west are at their lowest since the cold war.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that Turkey would prepare to trade with its key partners in local currencies so that it and its allies would not be dependent on the dollar. Turkey has, without success, requested that the United States extradite Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

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