Disgruntled by US, Erdogan implies alliance with 'other friends'
Aug 13 2018
Turkish President RecepTayyipErdoğan has sharply criticized the United States decision to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports, calling the move as an "operation" and portraying the plunge in the Turkish currency's value as an "economic war" against Turkey.
Earlier Friday, Trumpannounced a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish imports - days after a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no progress on the detention of pastor Brunson.
Speaking in the north-eastern province of Rize, Erdogan said that dollars, euros and gold were now "the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of the economic war being waged against our country".
On Saturday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the United States that it could lose a "strategic partner", declaring a rally: "We only bow before God".
The lira tumbled 17 percent on Friday alone, its biggest single-day drop since 2001, trading at an all-time low of 6.30 against the USA dollar.
"Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey's sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy", he wrote. "Exit of funds from the Turkish financial markets can be an opportunity for the Egyptian economy as a competitive market in the same region".
Asli Aydintasbas, senior fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations, stated that Erdogan's speech "was clearly defiant", but Turkey's economic situation continues to appear ever more dire.
A delegation from Turkey's Ministry of Foreign affairs travelled this week to the U.S. to attempt, to no avail, to reduce tensions between the two countries.
Ties between Turkey and the USA started breaking down after a coup attempt in July 15, 2016, allegedly staged by Pastor Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in the United States under protection of the government as a U.S. citizen.
But investors are concerned about the country's monetary policy.
Erdogan said Turkey would turn towards new markets, new partners and alternative financial tools.
In Rize, Erdogan said the USA would pay a price by challenging Turkey for the sake of "petty calculations", denouncing Washington for declaring "economic war on the entire world" and holding countries "for ransom through sanction threats".
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 U.S. established with Turkey over half a century ago upon its accession into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused the USA 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.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that Turkey would prepare to trade with its key partners in local currencies so that it and its allies would not be dependent on the dollar.
The aim of the recent US pressure is "to seize Turkey in every field from finance to politics", the president noted.
The sides held talks in Washington this week but failed to resolve the spat.
"The entire Turkish public is against USA policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands".
Erdoğan said that the US had set a deadline of last Wednesday for Brunson's release, threatening Turkey with sanctions if it did not comply with USA wishes. Gulen has denied the allegation.
After nearly 20 months in a Turkish jail, Brunson was moved to house arrest in July by a court.
His cause resonates with Trump's Christian conservative supporters, who could be influential as Republicans seek to retain control of Congress in midterm elections in November.