Erdogan says crash of lira ‘political plot’ against Turkey

'Our Relations Are Not Good!' Trump Targets Turkey with New Sanctions over Brunson's Detainment

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused the U.S. of exchanging its "strategic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally with a pastor", remarks that questioned why Washington was seeking to free its citizens detained by Ankara, including Pastor Andrew Brunson who has become the eye of a diplomatic storm between the two nations.

As the currency continued to fall, United States President Donald Trump announced on Friday he had doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally before admitting that relations between Washington and Ankara were "not very good".

In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Friday, Erdogan said Turkey's partnership with the United States could be in jeopardy unless Washington "starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty". I am addressing the United States once again: it is a pity that you chose a pastor over your strategic partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In a second speech, this time in the Black Sea city of Rize, Erdogan ruled out any change in the country's interest rates policy. "Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down", Erdoğan said in a speech at the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) meeting in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on August 12.

Although Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with Washington and Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said "we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table".

Ironically, the rial strengthened in the two days leading up to the reimposition of USA sanctions on Tuesday, after the government announced new foreign exchange measures giving greater freedom to trade dollars at market rates.

Turkish market shares of the total Egyptian exports is about 5%, which is a very modest share, said Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic analysis at the Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes, noting that the Turkish Lira slump is a big issue, which Turkish authorities will find huge difficulties to deal with.

Turkey's president on Saturday blamed the country's economic downturn on the United States and other nations that he claims are waging "war" against his country.

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The new duties on Turkey are double the level Mr Trump imposed in March on steel and aluminium imports from a range of countries.

In Rize, Erdogan said the United States would pay a price by challenging Turkey for the sake of "petty calculations", denouncing Washington for declaring "economic war on the entire world" and holding countries "for ransom through sanction threats".

Foreign Minister Zarif predicted that the world will finally rise up against the USA if Washington does not stop the policy of resort to "sanctions" and "bullying".

"Trump's jubilation in inflicting economic hardship on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey is shameful", he wrote on Twitter. "The U.S. has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions & bullying or entire world will unite-beyond verbal condemnations-to force it to", Zarif wrote.

The US reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday following its May withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, dealing a heavy blow to the already troubled economy.

Erdogan framed Turkey's crisis as a "national battle" against economic enemies including the USA at a rally in the Black Sea town of Ünye on Saturday. He was placed under house arrest due to health concerns last month and faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

Erdogan vowed there would be no easing of the law in Brunson's case: "We have not made concessions on justice so far, and we will never make any", he said.

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