Turkey’s Erdogan claims US sanctions are a stab in the back
- Turkish assets are under pressure over concerns about U.S. sanctions and the economy’s management.
- Turkey’s president made a televised address Monday, claiming U.S. actions were “a stab in the back”.
- Erdogan has promised to address the economic pressures but warned that attacks on the economy may continue.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan has again attacked the United States, alleging that the use of sanctions by Washington is a “stab in the back against Turkey.”
Addressing reporters in Ankara on Monday, the Turkish leader added in a translation provided by Reuters that “attacks on the economy are likely to continue for a while” but that Turkey would take steps to respond.
Turkey’s economy has been under the threat of sanctions from the U.S. after President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this year that this would be a probable course of action if an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, was not freed from jail. Turkey has held the evangelist since 2016 and has alleged that he was involved in a failed coup attempt that year.
Trump appeared to follow through on his threat Friday when he announced a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium originating from Turkey.
The White House later tried to clarify Trump’s tweet, saying in a statement that he “authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs” on metals imports from Turkey.
Erdogan has previously criticized the U.S. policy toward Turkish affairs and last week said: “They may have their dollars, but we have our people, our god.”
Some investors also worry that Erdogan is attempting to remove the country’s central bank of its independence and has prevented it from raising interest rates to a level that would allow a cooling of runaway inflation.
The Turkish lira has lost 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in 2018 as fears have risen over management of its overheating economy. Overnight Sunday, the lira hit a record low of more than 7 to the dollar but has since pared losses.
In his televised address, Erdogan said that the exchange rate would go back to “rational levels within the economic reality.”
The strongman leader added that spreading false news about the Turkish economy was tantamount to treason.
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