Erdogan warns Turkey's partnership with United States 'in jeopardy'
12 August, 2018, 16:57 | Author: Wade Massey
The currency's drop - 41 percent so far this year - is a gauge of fear over a country coming to terms with years of high debt, global concern over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push to amass power, and a souring in relations with allies like the U.S.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had remained unusually silent until now as the lira crisis mounted, urged Turks to take matters into their own hands.
While Turkey and the United States are at odds over a host of issues, the most pressing disagreement for Trump has been the fate of American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial on terrorism charges for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for a failed coup in 2016. The president - instead of reassuring the markets, whose collapsing confidence is one of the main drivers behind the lira's unprecedented depreciation - slammed Western countries and accused them of waging economic warfare on Turkey.
In a tweet, he said he was imposing duties of 20 per cent on Turkish aluminium and 50 per cent on steel.
"If there are dollars under your pillow, take these out", he told supporters in the north-eastern Turkish town of Ünye.
Mr Erdogan said although the nations had been allies for decades, Turkey "now has alternatives".
"We are knowledgeable with justice and law", Erdogan said in his address in the Black Sea province of Ordu on Saturday.
"If some of these vulnerabilities crystalize they could tip the economy into a full blown crisis", said its economist Yasemin Engin.
In a tit-for-tat response to the U.S. sanctions, Erdogan responded by announcing that the assets in Turkey of the United States secretaries of "justice and interior" would be frozen. What possible reason could there be behind the lira, which was at 2.8 against dollar on July 15, 2016, to slide below 6 yesterday?
President Trump's announcement Friday morning that he has authorized the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports coming from Turkey came in a tweet that noted, "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!". I am calling on those in America again.
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Many Turkish lenders are already in talks to restructure billions of dollars of loans, a process that may end up forcing them to accept losses.
"The dollar, the mollar, will not cut our path", said Erdogan using a figure of speech he repeatedly uses to mock something.
This year, it lost more than 40 per cent.
Image: Donald Trump claimed 'relations with Turkey are not good at this time!'
USA stocks fell Friday amid the geopolitical concerns that pushed the Turkish lira to the record low against the dollar.
It is unclear how that would justify higher tariffs on Turkey but not other countries.
In a Friday opinion piece for the New York Times, though, he used a milder tone to restore ties before it is too late, reminding of long-standing relations the USA established with Turkey over half a century ago upon its accession into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The New York Times suggested that Trump could also be trying to offset the effects of Turkey's weakened currency on the existing tariffs.
President Trump said he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, deepening tensions over the country's refusal to free an American pastor.
In addition, foreign investors are disquieted by Erdogan's authoritarian government, which seems to be pursuing imprudent and politically charged economic policies which undercut the independence of the central bank - only worsening Turkey's economic predicament.
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