Turkish President Rails Against ‘War’ on Turkish Economy

President Donald Trump

Trump, outraged by Turkey's detention of an American evangelical pastor on terrorism charges, said on Twitter he would double duties on Turkish aluminum and steel, to 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that Trump increased the tariff rate from 25 percent to 50 percent on imports of Turkish steel. Turkey's national tender has already fallen more than 40% in the past year, and this is the first time ever that it took more than 6 lira to buy a dollar.

The Turkish financial crisis set off a wave of selling across emerging markets, reviving the spectre of contagion that has been the sector's Achilles heel for decades.

Still, he went on to state Turkey acted on its own in the past despite USA objections, such as in its invasions of Northern Cyprus in 1974 and Afrin this year in Syrian Kurdistan.

In an article in the New York Times, Erdoğan said Trump's sanctions against Turkey over the Brunson's detention were "unacceptable, irrational and ultimately detrimental to our longstanding friendship".

Turkey is facing a deepening economic crisis, as the Lira fell sharply by about 22% in Friday's early morning trading and the yields on government debt rose further, said a press statement by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Friday, adding that doubling the tariffs applied to Turkish aluminium and ssteel coincide with the Turkish delegation's failure to reach a compromise with the USA authorities.

The lira tumbled 14 percent Friday, to 6.51 per dollar, a massive move for a currency that will make Turkish residents poorer and further erode global investors' confidence in the country.

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.

The central bank raised interest rates to support the lira in an emergency move in May, but it did not tighten monetary policy at its last meeting.

Erdogan had on Saturday described interest rates as a "tool of exploitation", in remarks that may not be warmly welcomed by the markets.

Erdogan said those who plotted against Turkey in a failed coup attempt in July 2016 were now trying to target the country through its economy, and pledged to fight back. Gulen denies the allegation.

"You dare to sacrifice 81 million Turks for a priest who is linked to terror groups?" He denies the charges.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over a string of issues including the detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges, prompting the lira to hit record lows against the dollar.

His cause resonates with Mr Trump's Christian conservative supporters.

A delegation led by Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal failed to secure a deal last Wednesday in talks in Washington on a number of issues including Mr Brunson.

Although Mr Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with the US.

Turkey later said Erdogan had held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss economic ties.

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