Erdogan slams United States for preferring terrorists as partner

Sergio Conner
August 12, 2018

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was responding to a drop in the value of the Turkish currency, the lira, against the US dollar following the imposition of sanctions and tariffs by the United States in the past two weeks.

Erdogan has further attempted to bolster the nation against this "economic war", calling for citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira as part of the "domestic and national struggle".

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Saturday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose additional tariffs on Turkey.

"Turkey expects other member countries to abide by worldwide rules", the country's trade ministry said in a statement.

Trump stated in an inflammatory tweet that the Turkish lira was weak against "our very strong dollar", adding that "US relations with Turkey are not good at this time".

A Turkish delegation returned from a meeting with Trump administration officials in Washington on Thursday with no apparent progress on a conflict over an American pastor who has been detained in Turkey for almost two years.

"They are threatening us. The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands", Kalin, also a spokesperson for Erdogan, wrote for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

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Following the tweet, Turkey responded by imposing duties on $1.8 billion in US goods including coal and paper. The currency has already fallen 36 percent in 2018 and has slid against the dollar on Friday.

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"As he stated, the president has authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey", White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said.

Turkey and the US are now experiencing rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey. "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging", said Erdogan, who warned of "economic war".

It said it would support steel and aluminium exporters on all worldwide platforms, and the U.S. remained an important trade partner.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced sanctions against Turkey for failing to release Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who was arrested in 2016 for allegedly aiding a failed military coup, claims the pastor denies.

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.

"We've stood with neighbors before, and will again now", Zarif wrote on his official Twitter account.

"This could be the most expensive pastor in world history", Sekulow said, referring to the harm being done to Turkey's economy.

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