Erdogan Tells Turks to Buy Crumbling Lira as Trump Turns the Screws

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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

Mr Trump intensified his spat with Turkey by imposing the higher tariffs, putting unprecedented economic pressure on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and deepening turmoil in Turkish financial markets. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" "You impose sanctions on our Halkbank. and then you expect different treatment from Turkey?" said Erdogan, in a second speech in the same city.

Erdogan has further attempted to bolster the nation against this "economic war", calling for citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira as part of the "domestic and national struggle".

Reverberations spread through global markets, with European stock markets especially hit as investors took fright over banks' exposure to Turkey.

The US imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum in March for imports from a variety of countries. "The entire Turkish public is against United States policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands", Kalin, also a spokesperson for Erdogan, wrote for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

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".

Last week, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey's justice minister and interior minister for refusing to release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been in custody since 2016 on charges of terrorism and espionage that Washington says are bogus.

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Turkish officials held talks in Washington this week but there was no breakthrough. As recently as April the ratio was about four lira per dollar.

"The last time I can remember a currency exploding into a similar acceleration of weakness to what we have seen in the past 24 hours is the Russian ruble crisis that transpired late in 2014", Jameel Ahmad, the head of currency strategy at FXTM, said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to sell their gold and dollars to support the crumbling lira. "Don't heed them. Don't forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God", Erdogan said.

Brunson, an evangelical Presbyterian from North Carolina, was jailed for allegedly supporting the group that Turkey blames for the failed coup and was moved from prison to house arrest in July. Gulen denies the allegation.

"This could be the most expensive pastor in world history", Sekulow said, referring to the harm being done to Turkey's economy.

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

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