Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Disgruntled by US, Erdogan implies alliance with 'other friends'

Turkish delegation returns home after meeting in US Trump vows to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey
Deanna Wagner | 13 August, 2018, 04:40

Following the announcement, the Turkish lira also hit record lows at 20 percent to the dollar, in the midst of a financial panic about the country's economic health.

By 1903 GMT on Sunday - early Monday morning in the Asia Pacific - the lira was at 7.06 against the dollar, after touching 7.24 earlier.

Terming the recent USA tariffs on Turkey as an "economic war", the Turkish president said: "We've seen your game and we will challenge it". "You prefer a pastor to a strategic ally of yours in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

"I have just authorised a 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!"

'We are once again facing a political, underhand plot.

"We will implement a necessary fiscal rule if circumstances require", Albayrak added.

Erdogan said Turkey acted in accordance with the law, saying: "We have not made concessions on justice so far, and we will never make any".

"Those who assume they can bring us to our knees through economic manipulations don't know our nation at all", he said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told a rally Friday that his country would not yield to what he called bullying and blackmail.

Erdogan appeared to indicate that the entire alliance between Turkey - which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 with strong American backing - and Washington was at stake.

Photo American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson is on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

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Trump has described Brunson's detention as a "total disgrace" and urged Erdogan to free him "immediately".

A Turkish delegation met with officials from the departments of State and Treasury earlier this week as both sides sought a way out of the rising tensions.

In return for Brunson's release, for example, Erdogan has explicitly demanded that the United States extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric allegedly responsible for the 2016 coup (though Turkey has failed to convince US justice officials of Gulen's role in the revolt).

The White House said Mr Trump had authorised them under a section of U.S. trade law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds.

"Shame on you, shame on you", he said in remarks directly addressed to Washington.

"Interest rates should be kept to a minimum because they are a tool of exploitation that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer", he said.

Erdogan, who has called himself the "enemy of interest rates", wants cheap credit from banks to fuel growth, but investors fear the economy is overheating and could be set for a hard landing.

The marked drop came as Turkey's current strains with the United States showed no sign of abating.

U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a round of sanctions on August 1, preventing the Turkish justice an interior ministries from doing business with U.S. businesses.

"You arrest my Halkbank general deputy director?"

The US on August 1 imposed financial sanctions on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, blocking Turkey's ministers of justice and interior from doing business with Americans. "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging", said Erdogan, who warned of "economic war".