Friday, 14 December, 2018

Turkey is 'target of economic war', Turkish president says

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters  File An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters File
Patty Aguilar | 12 August, 2018, 17:00

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the USA of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor".

In addition to the steep drop in the Turkish Lira, which effectively reduces the impact of the tariffs, the USA has so far been unsuccessful in persuading Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to release us pastor Andrew Brunson. "Turkey is an important strategic partner militarily and economically".

Among the issues, Turkey has arrested an American pastor and put him on trial for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago.

"This will be my people's response to those who have waged an economic war against us", he said.

Putting a 50 percent tariff on a foreign country's steel exports isn't the most conventional way to secure an imprisoned American's relief.

The Turkish president took aim at the United States in his address, claiming "some countries have engaged in behaviour that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice". "Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work", he said.

"President Erdogan's strengthened powers under the new presidential system have made it increasingly uncertain whether policymakers will be able to act to stabilise the economy", said William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London.

"Because this is the language they understand". The company had said in a quarterly filing that Turkey wasn't among its top 25 country exposures at midyear, which means it's something less than US$3.7 billion.

On Friday, Turkey's currency, the Lira, fell as much as 14%, causing the global financial markets to shudder.

Turkish president Tayipp Erdogan today hit back at US President Donald Trump, saying it was "wrong" to double tariffs on Turkish metal imports. "You are exchanging your strategic partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for a priest".

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Erdogan on Friday held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing economic and trade issues as well as the Syria crisis.

Addressing for the first time on Friday to a rally of his supporters, he said, "If they have dollars, we have our people, we have our right and we have Allah!" "Turkey has been trending towards authoritarianism & becoming more anti-American".

The lira, which had already lost one-third of its value this year largely over worries about Erdoğan's wider control of the economy, is at a fresh record low, at one point losing 18%, its biggest fall since 2001.

Trump announced the punitive doubling of tariffs on Twitter, saying: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!".

Washington "must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical", he said in the opinion piece.

On Friday, as the Lira plunged and the USA imposed its higher sanctions on Turkey, Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone.

Turkey's currency has nosedived amid concerns about the country's economic policies and its dispute with the US.

Mr Trump has insisted that Mr Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, be released "without delay"; Mr Erdogan insists his government can not interfere with the judicial process.

He declined to specifically mention any countries by name, although the comments come amid an ongoing row with the United States and after the Trump administration increased tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum on Friday.

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