As Turkey’s Economy and Lira Dive, Erdogan ‘Pleads’ for Relief
Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was wrong of the United States to try to bring Turkey into line with threats, a day after President Donald Trump 2X’d tariffs on Turkish metal imports as the row esclated.
The 2 governments have been at odds over a wide range of topics from diverging interests in Syria, to Turkey’s ambition to buy Russian defense systems, and the case of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who being heald Turkey on terrorism charges.
“You can never bring this nation in line with the language of threats,” President Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in the Turkish town of Unye on the Black Sea coast. “I am once again calling on those in America: It is a pity that you choose a pastor over your strategic partner in NATO,” he said.
The collapsing Turkish lira, which has lost about 70% of its value Vs USD this year largely over worries about Erdogan’s wider control of the economy has marked an time lows YTD.
A meeting Friday unveiling a new economic approach by Turkey’s finance minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, did little to offer support for the free-falling lira as investors sought concrete steps such as an interest rate hike to restore confidence.
President Erdogan Saturday repeated a call to Turks to help support the lira to win what he described was a “war of independence”.
“If there are Dollars under your pillow, take these out. If there are Euros, take these out .. Immediately give these to the banks and convert to Turkish lira and by doing this, we fight this war of independence and the future. Because this is the language they understand,” he said.
That is unlikely to happen though.
An important emerging market, Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and has been mostly pro-Western for decades. Financial upheaval there risks further destabilizing an already volatile region.
President Erdogan has cast the recent slide in the lira as a war and without naming countries said supporters of a failed military coup 2 years ago, which Ankara says was organized by a US-based Muslim cleric, were attacking Turkey in new ways since his re-election 2 months ago.
In an opinion piece in the NY-Ts, he warned the US that Ankara had other alternatives as allies.
“Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies,” President Erdogan said.
Turkey is home to the Incirlik air base which is used by US forces in the Middle East, it host to a Key part of the Western alliance’s missile defense system again Iran.
President Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey’s efforts to solve the crisis with diplomatic methods have been dismissed by The Trump Administration, warning that Washington could lose Ankara as an ally.
“The US runs the risk of losing Turkey as a whole. The entire Turkish public is against US policies that disregard Turkey’s legitimate security demands. Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work,” he said.
We will see about that, expect Turkey to align with Washington.