Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Turkey's Erdogan says lira weakness a plot, cannot be explained by logic

Turkey's Erdogan says lira weakness a plot, cannot be explained by logic

But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had remained unusually silent until the lira crisis deepened, urged his fellow countrymen to take matters into their own hands.

Erdoğan had warned Saturday that Turkey would start looking for new friends if the USA continued with its unilateral actions against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, in a diplomatic row that has sent Ankara and Washington relations to a new low.

Trump made his unexpected announcement on Twitter from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, as the Turkish currency, the lira, fell to all-time lows against the us dollar.

Turkey also warned there would be retaliation against the US' imposition of the tariffs.

Turkey has arrested an American pastor and put him on trial for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago.

On June 21, Turkey's retaliatory tariffs went into effect on 4 to 70 percent of more than $1 billion worth of USA goods. As of Friday morning, the lira was worth roughly 15 cents.

The lira dropped by 17 percent against the United States dollar at one point on Friday, which has people anxious that Turkey's crisis could harm worldwide markets.

"Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives", he said.

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Referring to the recent US tariffs on iron and steel, he said that Turkey is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and there was no such thing in WTO rules. "Without Turkish cooperation, USA goals in Syria, Iran, Russia, and even Europe become more hard". The lira fell further after Trump's tweet. It did not disclose details, but the move suggests Turkey might gravitate further from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies toward cooperation with Russian Federation, whose relations with the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War.

Erdogan has been putting pressure on the central bank to not raise interest rates in order to keep fueling economic growth.

The central bank has over the last weeks defied calls from markets for rate hikes to combat these problems, raising fears of interference from Erdogan who has repeatedly called for low interest rates.

Analysts say that while Washington's sanctions against Ankara sparked the immediate crisis, Turkey's economy has been risking trouble for a while due to high inflation and the weak lira. But since adopting increased powers, Erdogan appears to have greater control over the bank as well. That sent the lira down even further.

Regarding the situation of the Turkish currency, Erdogan once again called on his fellow citizens to back the lira, which depreciated 18 percent on Friday, by selling their dollars and euros. "This is a national, domestic battle", he told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt, according to Reuters.

"We will not lose the economic war", state-run TRT Haber television quoted Erdogan as saying.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the US, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country's lira currency amounted to a "political plot" against Turkey.

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