Disgruntled by US, Erdogan implies alliance with 'other friends'

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 12, 2018

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

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".

Although Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with Washington and Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said "we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table".

Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated further this week as US President Donald Trump raised tariffs against Turkish aluminium to 20% and to 50% in terms of steel.

"The United States should know that the only result such sanctinos and pressure will bring... will be harming our relationship as allies", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" USA stocks were also rattled.

Turkey and the United States squabbled last week over Turkey's failure to free a USA pastor named Andrew Brunson from house arrest while he awaits his trial on terrorism charges.

The embattled Turkish lira tumbled over 16 percent to new record lows against the dollar as strains with the United States intensified over a number of issues including the detention of a pastor as well as Washington's cooperation with Syrian Kurdish militia force in the fight against Islamic State.

He said Turkey's response was not going to be based on "reciprocity", adding: "Those who commit a crime will pay a price".

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

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

In an opinion piece in the New York Times Friday, Erdogan wrote "failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies".

The United States has increasingly used economic sanctions against foes such as Iran or North Korea but it is highly unusual for an administration to impose import tariffs over political or judicial issues with other countries.

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.

"If they have the dollar, we have Allah", he said.

Turkish authorities arrested Brunson in December 2016, claiming that he was a spy and was linked to a failed plot to overthrow the government. Gulen denies the allegation.

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