Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Erdogan says crash of lira 'political plot' against Turkey

President Donald Trump Carolyn Kaster Associated Press President Donald Trump
Deanna Wagner | 12 August, 2018, 22:23

The Turkish lira TRYTOM=D3 has always been falling on worries about Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.

On Friday the currency dropped as much as 18% at one point, the biggest one-day fall since a 2001 financial crisis in Turkey. USA stocks were also rattled.

The currency is down 40 percent just this year, shaking global investors' confidence in the country.

Turkey's currency plunged to fresh all-time lows against the dollar Friday after President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he would double tariffs on aluminum to 20% and on steel to 50%.

The lira, Trump noted on Twitter, "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!" The currency is currently down 13.5% against the U.S. dollar, after a brief 20% fall, resulting from a Trump tweet that declared, "Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%", and concluded: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

Erdogan said Turkey would turn towards new markets, new partners and alternative financial tools.

The new duties on Turkey are double the level Mr Trump imposed in March on steel and aluminium imports from a range of countries. The White House said the newly imposed sanctions would take effect from August 13.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamdi Aksoy on Friday said in a statement that Trump's decision, which disregards World Trade Organization rules, "cannot be associated with seriousness expected from a state".

Turkey and the United States squabbled last week over Turkey's failure to free a US pastor named Andrew Brunson from house arrest while he awaits his trial on terrorism charges.

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"If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks. This is a national, domestic battle", he told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt.

"Some countries have engaged in behaviour that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice", he said. "This will be the response to those who have declared an economic war".

The Trump administration gave Turkey until last Wednesday to release American pastor Andrew Brunson from custody, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported revealed.

The sanctions will freeze the USA assets of Turkey's minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and its minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu. It is host to an X-band radar, a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defence system again Iran.

"We can only say "good-bye" to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups", he said.

"If you pressure us through the dollar, we will look for other ways to carry out our works", he said.

Turkish officials insist the outcome of Brunson's case exclusively relies on the judiciary, a claim the USA has refused to buy in the light of Erdogan's earlier suggestions to swap him with Turkish opposition exiles residing in the US.

"They have been trying to achieve what they failed to do through provocations and a coup attempt with money now", he said. Gulen has denied the allegation.