The crash of the Turkish lira is a “political plot” against Turkey. So said the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on August 12. He pointed the finger to the United States.
The already embattled Turkish lira tumbled some 16% to new record lows against the dollar on August 12 as US President Donald Trump said he had doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey.
The dispute between Turkey and the US has hammered the lira and raised questions over the future partnership between Washington and Ankara, reported the Agence France-Presse.
All eyes will be on the lira when foreign exchange markets reopen on August 13 after the weekend pause. But Erdogan indicated he was in no mood to offer concessions to the US, or financial markets.
“The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics,” Erdogan told ruling party members in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.
“We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this,” he added.
Erdogan appeared unworried by the punitive measures imposed by the US, saying Turkey could turn to other partners and again terming the crisis an “economic war”
“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances, to the one who waged an economic war against the entire world and also included our country,” Erdogan said.
“Some close the doors and some others open new ones,” added Erdogan, who has built closer ties over the last years with countries from Latin America, Africa to Asia.
Meanwhile, 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.
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, reported AFP.
What is more, the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held by Turkey on espionage charges, is dangerously stirring relations between the two countries. Turkish authorities accuse the pastor of playing a role in the failed 2016 military coup to overthrow Erdogan.
However, as noted by AFP, the Brunson case is just one of many bones of contention between Turkey and the US, ranging from Syria to Ankara’s increasingly cosy relationship with Moscow.