Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Erdogan Says US 'Wrong' to Threaten Turkey After Trump Doubles Tariffs

Erdogan Says US 'Wrong' to Threaten Turkey After Trump Doubles Tariffs

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Saturday to defy USA "threats" over a detained pastor, showing no signs of concessions in a bitter row that has caused the Turkish lira to crash.

"Those who can't compete with us on the ground have brought online fictional currency plots that have nothing to with the realities of our country, production and real economy", Erdogan told a provincial meeting of his AK Party in the Black Sea coastal town of Rize.

He also said it was a pity that Washington chose Brunson over Turkey, its partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and in an opinion piece in the New York Times, he warned the United States that Ankara had other alternatives as allies.

Calling on the U.S., Erdogan said: "It is a shame". You are exchanging your strategic partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for a priest.

Trump further frayed US-Turkish relations after the president announced via Twitter that he was doubling of tariffs on exports of steel and aluminum from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, shoving the Turkish lira down 18% in one day alone to a record low against the US dollar.

Relations between Ankara and Washington have sunk to their lowest point in decades over a number of issues, including the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges, and the depreciation of the Turkish lira to hit record lows against the dollar.

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in years over the detention for the last two years of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

"If European countries want to get rid of the dollar pressure, we are ready to create a similar system with them", Anadolu Agency quotes him as saying. Immediately give these to the banks and convert to Turkish lira and by doing this, we fight this war of independence and the future.

"If there are dollars under your pillow, take these out".

While Fed officials are quick to stress they are focused on the domestic economy, any emerging market slump large enough to spill over into Europe or the United States would be significant enough to give policymakers pause about ongoing monetary tightening.

"Interest rates should be kept to a minimum because they are a tool of exploitation that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer", he said.

The pastor's arrest further soured ties with Washington, which were already very frail.

Although Turkey and the United States have been North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for more than 60 years, the U.S. "has repeatedly and consistently failed to understand and respect the Turkish people's concerns", Erdogan said in his opinion piece.

Mr Erdogan said the United States had "repeatedly and consistently failed to understand and respect the Turkish people's concerns". "It is a national fight", he said.

"Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy".

"Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies".

In the New York Times, Erdogan warned Washington not to risk its relations with Ankara, saying it would look for "new friends and allies".

The White House has said the newly-imposed sanctions would take effect from August 13.

Erdogan has said Turkey was not afraid of "threats" and will find "alternatives" for economic cooperation in many places "from Iran, to Russian Federation, to China and some European countries".

On Friday Turkey made it clear Mr Erdogan had spoken on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the latest USA tariffs, with the two men "expressing pleasure" that relations were progressing "positively".

"The US has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions (and) bullying or the entire world will unite - beyond verbal condemnations - to force it to", he warned.

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