Turkey’s Erdogan on the defensive: Trump turns up the heat, exacts pain

by WorldTribune Staff, August 10, 2018

Turkey’s lira went into a tailspin on Aug. 10 after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose steep tariffs on the NATO country’s steel and aluminum.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“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! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!,” Trump tweeted.

The lira on Aug. 10 traded down 15 percent against the U.S. dollar at 6.38 after Trump’s tweet. Earlier in the day, the Turkish currency fell 20 percent, reaching a record low.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called on Turkey’s citizens to convert their dollars, other foreign currencies and gold holdings to lira.

“Change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks. This is a domestic and national struggle,” Erdogan said, according to an Associated Press translation.

Erdogan said Turkey was facing an “economic war” and noted the country would respond to those countries who had started it.

“We are facing economic attacks today, and we need to defend our country,” Erdogan said. “The economic attack against us now is the same as the coup attempt against us. I’m urging our country to increase outputs, to increase exports.”

Last month, Trump threatened to slap “large sanctions” on Turkey if it continued to refuse to release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was detained after the failed coup in 2016.

The U.S. on Aug. 1 imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Justice and Interior ministers, prohibiting U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

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