‘If they have dollar, we have our Allah’: Erdogan

13 August, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters  File

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

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the USA over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

Early on Friday, the lira hit a new record low, plunging to as far as 6 per USA dollar after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington on Thursday with no apparent solutions to an ongoing crisis.

All eyes will be on the lira when foreign exchange markets reopen on Monday after the weekend break.

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

"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.

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

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"We only bow before God".

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.

At the same time, the United States is fighting an economic war against China through tariffs and other measures.

He further added that the only response to a country which chooses to sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a state with a population 81 million for the sake "terror groups" is "good-bye".

Mr Erdogan has linked Gulen's fate to that of American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for the failed coup.

Brunson is now on trial in Turkey for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago. Trump has described his detention as a "total disgrace" and urged Erdogan to free him immediately.

A delegation of Turkish officials held discussions with their counterparts in Washington this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough.

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Washington is in a standoff with Ankara over the imprisonment and house arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Erdogan mentioned the deadline in comments he made Sunday to his supporters in Trabzon, according to Reuters.

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

"They tell us to release the priest by Wednesday 6pm, otherwise the sanctions will begin", Mr Erdogan said, revealing details of talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Washington on Wednesday.

Mr. Erdogan, who has called himself the "enemy of interest rates", wants cheap credit from banks to fuel growth, but investors fear the economy is overheating and could be set for a hard landing.

"As he stated, the President has authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey", said White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters.

"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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