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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames lira crash on Donald Trump 'plot'

US president accused of waging 'economic war against the entire world'

Chris Baynes
Monday 13 August 2018 11:41 BST
Erdogan defends Turkey's economy, accuses the US of jeopardising bilateral ties

Turkey’s president has blamed the crash of the lira on the United States, claiming a “political, underhand plot” had sent the value of his country’s currency tumbling to record lows.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Donald Trump of waging “economic war against the entire world”, after the American leader escalated a diplomatic feud by doubling tariffs on steel and aluminium.

“The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics,” the Turkish president told supporters in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

“We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this."

The lira has lost more than 40 per cent of its value against dollar this year, amid worsening ties between Turkey and the US and concerns over Mr Erdogan’s influence over the economy.

The fall turned to meltdown on Friday, when the lira dropped 14 per cent, rattling global markets.

Turkey’s currency pulled back from an overnight record low of 7.24 to the dollar on Monday after its central bank pledged to provide liquidity and cut reserve requirements for Turkish banks.

It came after finance minister Berat Albayrak said authorities would start implementing an economic action plan on Monday morning.

On Sunday night the lira’s collapse hit Asian shares, weakened the South African rand and drove demand in global markets for safe currencies including the US dollar, Swiss franc and yen.

Speaking in Trabzon, Mr Erdogan dismissed suggestions that Turkey was facing a financial crisis like those seen in Asia two decades ago.

"What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup? There is no economic reason,” he said. ”This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances, to the one who waged an economic war against the entire world and also included our country.

“Some close the doors and some others open new ones.”

Mr Trump announced additional sanctions on Turkish metals last week as relations between the two nations continued to sour over Ankara's detention of a US pastor.

"Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time," tweeted the US president, two days after talks between American and Turkish officials about pastor Andrew Brunson, 50, ended without any obvious progress.

Mr Brunson, who has lived for two decades in Turkey, was arrested in 2016 and charged with having terrorist connections. He is also accused of having links to the failed coup attempt on Mr Erdogan that year.

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