With the Turkish lira plunging following the imposition of economic sanctions on Turkey by the US administration over the continued detention of an American pastor, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday told Turkish businessmen not to buy foreign currency, saying otherwise he would put “plans B and C” into practice, the Yeni Şafak daily reported.
“Do not rush to banks to buy foreign currency. Do not think this way: It [the Turkish economy] is over, it is bankrupted so we should take steps to protect ourselves. If you resort to this method, you will make a mistake. It is not only our duty to keep this nation alive, but also the duty of merchants and industrialists. Otherwise, I will have to put plans B and C into practice. Better that everybody understands it,” Erdoğan said, speaking to businessmen in Trabzon province.
Erdoğan did not elaborate on the details of plans B and C.
The Turkish government has seized over eight holdings and 1,020 companies since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The Turkish president on Friday called on Turks to exchange dollars, euros and gold for Turkish lira, which plunged by more than 20 percent against the dollar.
Turkey has been facing a currency crisis since its relations with the US administration were dramatically strained over a court decision to put American pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest after almost two years in pretrial detention rather than release him as demanded by the US administration.
Following the court ruling US President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on Turkey if Brunson were not freed.
After imposing economic sanctions on two Turkish ministers on Aug. 1 for their role in the detention of evangelical pastor Brunson, President Trump on Friday ramped up his sanctions on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
The lira has dropped by almost 50 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months.