Erdogan warns Turkey's partnership with U.S. 'in jeopardy'
11 August, 2018, 20:38 | Author: Kevin Carter
Trump decided in March to impose import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from several countries, including Turkey.
Earlier Friday, Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
"At a time when evil continues to lurk around the world, unilateral actions against Turkey by the United States, our ally of decades, will only serve to undermine American interests and security", Erdogan said in the article.
On Aug. 1, the US Treasury announced it was freezing the assets of Turkey's justice and interior ministers over Brunson's continued detention. The lira fell further after Mr Trump's tweet.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke before the nation twice on August 10, but the country's currency continued its descent, reaching about 6.4 lire per dollar, a decline of about 14.6 percent.
The lira has been falling on worries about Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.
If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks.
The external value of the lira is not a prime concern of Erdogan's core supporters, many of whom have no plans for foreign holidays and readily accept government rhetoric that economic problems are caused by outsiders seeking to weaken Turkey. Since then Trump and his vice president Mike Pence have repeatedly called for his release while Ankara said the decision was up to the courts.
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and other media reports quote Erdogan as making the comment to a group of worshippers following traditional Muslim Friday prayers during a visit to the northern city of Bayburt.
Trump pointed out on Twitter that the lira was not doing well, but one of Erdogan's economic advisers, Yigit Bulut, responded that the sell-off in the lira had caused $300 billion in losses in the US stock market.
This year, it lost more than 40 per cent.
The currency drop is particularly painful for Turkey because the country finances a lot of its economic growth with foreign money. Trump, who had secured the release of a Turkish woman activist being held by Israel and just days earlier he had been exchanging fist bumps with Erdogan at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, took it as a personal affront.
"Consequently, the risk of capital flight could see further Turkish losses in our opinion, whilst much higher interest rates could see a sharp economic slowdown and rising non-performing loans". The predictable result is this has made inflation get out of control - it is up to 15.9 percent when they are supposedly trying to keep it to 5 percent - because the central bank has been so slow to raise rates, and, in fact, refused to do so at its most recent meeting.
"This will be my people's response to those who have waged an economic war against us", he said.
The United States and Turkey are already at loggerheads over trade, defense deals, the future of the US mission in Syria and Ankara's warming ties with Russian Federation. "Repeated efforts to communicate to the United States administration that none of the stated criteria driving America's tariffs are applicable to Turkey have thus far proven fruitless", he said.
New Finance Minister BeratAlbayrak - Erdogan's son-in-law - acknowledged that the central bank's independence was critical for the economy, promising stronger budget discipline and a priority on structural reforms.
"Normally, Turkey might be able to shrug off this kind of story; however, right now the Turkish economy is already in the terminal stages of a descent into crisis. Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work", he said.
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