Turkish President Rails Against ‘War’ on Turkish Economy

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party in Rize Turkey

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused the United States of exchanging its "strategic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally with a pastor", remarks that questioned why Washington was seeking to free its citizens detained by Ankara, including Pastor Andrew Brunson who has become the eye of a diplomatic storm between the two nations.

The lira has always been falling on worries about Mr Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.

The Turkish lira dropped as much as 18 per cent at one point after Mr Trump's announcement - the biggest one-day fall since a 2001 financial crisis in the country.

Reverberations spread through global financial markets, with European stock markets especially hit as investors took fright over banks' exposure to Turkey. "The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands", Kalin, also a spokesperson for Erdogan, wrote for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

The currency, which traded 4.7 to the dollar a month ago, has now weakened to 6.4 to the dollar, having lost more than 30% of its value this month, 20% of which accrued in the last 24 hours.

"Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" he wrote.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington would pay for challenging Turkey all for the sake of "petty calculations".

The new duties on Turkey are double the level that Trump imposed in March on steel and aluminium imports from a range of countries. "You impose sanctions on our Halkbank. and then you expect different treatment from Turkey?" said Erdogan, in a second speech in the same city.

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".

The latest escalation between Ankara and Washington was denounced by the Turkish press, with pro-government daily Sabah saying "the currency attack" was no different from the attempted coup of July 2016. "This is a domestic and national struggle".

"Some countries have engaged in behaviour that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice", he said.

"These are the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of an economic war waged against our country", he said.

As the currency continued to fall, United States President Donald Trump announced on Friday he had doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally before admitting that relations between Washington and Ankara were "not very good".

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 United States established with Turkey over half a century ago upon its accession into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Turkey, home to the Incirlik air base which is used by USA forces in the Middle East, has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since the 1950s.

"If you pressure us through the dollar, we will look for other ways to carry out our works", he said.

Turkey's President has slammed the crash of the lira as a "political plot" amid a row with the United States and Donald Trump.

Turkey wants the U.S. to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies the allegation.

A Turkish court has transferred Brunson to house arrest after nearly 20 months in jail.

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

'We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. He offered no further details. "The U.S. has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions & bullying or entire world will unite - beyond verbal condemnations - to force it to".

Erdogan enjoys the support of many Turks even though rents and food and fuel prices have all surged.

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