Turkey’s government scrambles amid showdown crisis with U.S.

by WorldTribune Staff, August 13, 2018

The Turkish government has vowed to “retaliate” against the U.S. for imposing new tariffs as Turkey struggles with an economic crisis that has seen its currency drop in value by 40 percent since the start of the year.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week imposed higher tariffs on Turkish imports, including 50 percent on steel and 20 percent on aluminum.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses the ‘Rabia’ sign. / Reuters

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said that the government has prepared “an action plan” aimed at easing market concerns that have led to a major slump in the value of the nation’s currency.

The lira nosedived 14 percent on Aug. 10 over concerns about the government’s economic policies and a trade and diplomatic dispute with the United States.

Trump imposed the tariffs after Turkey failed to meet a deadline for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Aug. 12, according to Reuters.

Brunson, who has been detained in the country for more than year on terrorism charges, is accused by the Erdogan regime of working with Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who Erdogan claims orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.

Speaking to supporters in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, Erdogan said Washington had threatened sanctions if Turkey refused to release the pastor.

Erdogan warned business executives to not “rush to banks to withdraw foreign currency,” adding that businesses should “know that keeping this nation alive and standing isn’t just our job, but also the job of industrialists, of merchants.”

Speaking an interview with the Hurriyet newspaper and quoted by The Associated Press, Albayrak also said the government had no plans to seize foreign currency deposits or convert deposits to the Turkish lira.

“As of Monday morning, our institutions will take the necessary actions and will share the necessary announcements with markets,” said the Turkish minister. “All our precautions and actions plans are ready,” he added, without elaborating.

Erdogan claimed that the financial crisis has resulted from “an operation against our economy conducted through exchange rates” and said Turkey would prevail.

Meanwhile, Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt said Erdogan reminds him more and more of Adolph Hitler.

“#Erdogan looks increasingly like a #Hitler as he asks the audience to stand up and salute with his invention of #Rabia sign he borrowed from the street protests of Muslim Brotherhood in #Egypt,” Bozkurt tweeted. “He says the cost of freedom is sacrificing lives.”

The “Rabia” sign has four fingers standing straight, with the thumb pointed in towards the palm. It is used as the symbol of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on social media and at various gatherings, according to an Arutz Sheva report.

Egypt banned the sign, but Erdogan often uses it when speaking in public.

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