Erdogan says Turkey has become 'target of economic war'

Aaron Brown
August 13, 2018

"If the USA is turning its back on us.choosing a pastor instead, sorry.we continue our path with decisive steps", Erdogan said, as quoted by Reuters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is continuing his pushback against United States actions that now have investors concerned as the nation inches closer to a financial crisis, according to Bloomberg.

Early on Friday, the lira hit a new record low, plunging to as far as 6 per United States dollar after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington on Thursday with no apparent solutions to an ongoing crisis.

Unprecedented punitive sanctions declared by the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on two Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor, as well as doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum, have worsened relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to their lowest over decades.

Erdogan, speaking to political supporters in the Black Sea resort of Trabzon, said, "The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics".

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.

He also said it was a pity that Washington chose Brunson over Turkey, its partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and in an opinion piece published in the New York Times, he warned the U.S. that Ankara had other alternatives as allies.

Trump's tweet Friday showed that in many cases, the political and economic factors overlap - Trump's decision to double sanctions on Turkey was made possible by a key trade law called Section 232 that gives the USA president very broad powers over tariffs in cases of national security. "Don't worry", Erdogan told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt.

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He said, "Hamas is moving away from an arrangement to calm things down and is moving near to a war in which it would be hit hard". Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan called on the U.S. to return to the negotiating table.

But Erdogan said Turks should not be alarmed by exchange rate movements. "Attempting to force my government to intervene in the judicial process is not in line with our constitution or our shared democratic values", he said. Trump tweeted Friday that the U.S. -Turkey ties "are not good at this time!".

To understand how all of these pieces fit together, we'll start with some basic facts about trade between the United States and Turkey.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif waded into the mounting row, accusing Washington of an "addiction to sanctions and bullying".

Trump's "jubilation in inflicting economic hardship on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey is shameful", Zarif wrote on Twitter. "Nevertheless, we implore President Trump to resume negotiations".

The latest escalation between Ankara and Washington was denounced by the Turkish press, with pro-government daily Sabah saying "the currency attack" was no different from the attempted coup of July 2016.

Washington earlier this month already imposed sanctions on senior Turkish officials over the Brunson case, angering Erdogan and prompting retaliatory measures by Ankara.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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