Turkey's partnership with United States in jeopardy, Erdogan warns

Ann Santiago
August 13, 2018

The arrest of U.S. pastor Brunson since October 2016 has soured already delicate relations with Washington. The White House has since confirmed the tweet. Turkey wants Brunson to stand trial.

Washington earlier this month already imposed sanctions on senior Turkish officials over the Brunson case, angering Erdogan and prompting retaliatory measures by Ankara. The sides held talks in Washington this week but failed to resolve the spat. The U.S. exported $9.75 billion worth of goods-mostly cotton, scrap iron, steel, civilian aircraft parts, coal, and petroleum gases-to Turkey, and imported $9.42 billion worth of goods from them.

In another opinion piece in the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, Mr Erdogan's spokesman, Mr Ibrahim Kalin, said Turkey's efforts to solve the crisis diplomatically had been dismissed by the Trump administration, warning Washington it might completely lose Ankara as an ally.

Erdogan said his decision to sanction the U.S.in retaliation for American sanctions was to convey that Turkey "does not respond to threats". And what he did say Friday morning could weigh on global markets for some time to come.

Erdogan had on Saturday described interest rates as a "tool of exploitation", in remarks that may not be warmly welcomed by the markets.

'If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah, ' he said. But given that Turkey is in the midst of an economic crisis, it might prove an effective one.

"Some countries have engaged in behavior that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice", he said. "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging".

Earlier this week US and Turkish officials met in Washington to discuss issues that have pitted the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies against each other.


Erdogan's claim of a Western political plot against him sparked alarm in investors and prompted an acceleration in the currency sell-off.

Erdogan on Friday appealed for calm and called on people to change foreign money into local lira.

Washington in response sanctioned two Turkish ministers, and Trump on Friday announced the United States was doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, saying relations with Ankara were "not good at this time". If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks. This is a national struggle.

Trump's tweet caused a further drop in the Turkish currency, which is now down 13 percent on the day. While many of Turkey's challenges are specific to that country, there are certain characteristics - a heavy debt load following a prolonged, low USA interest-rate driven borrowing binge in dollars - broadly shared throughout emerging markets.

The Turkish president his indicated possible support from Beijing and Moscow, but analysts are skeptical, given the scale of support the Turkish economy needs.

In 2017, 19 billion dollars worth of goods were traded between the US and Turkey.

"Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%", Trump said in a tweet.

Erdogan also appeared to allude to a "deadline" for handing over Brunson, although he did not name the United States as having set any such deadline or say precisely when it might have expired. "It may be not the best, but it is an option".

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