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Erdoğan defies US sanctions: We have seen your game, and we challenge you

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“I am declaring here and now: We have seen your game, and we challenge you,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday in response to the plunge of the Turkish lira following the imposition of economic sanctions on Turkey by the US administration over the continued detention of an American pastor, claiming that the currently ongoing currency crisis had no basis in economic fact but was an attack by the US on Turkey.

Erdoğan was in Trabzon to attend a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Following the Turkish lira’s recent free fall, Erdoğan has employed a new rhetoric that accuses the US of orchestrating an “economic attack” against his country, claiming, “They couldn’t manage [to overthrow my government] with a coup attempt, now they’re trying it with money.”

Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

“There is no reasonable economic explanation for the depreciation of the Turkish lira from 2.8 to the US dollar before July 15 [2016] to more than 6 today. Is Turkey facing a financial crisis like Asian markets had in the 1990s? No. Is it a mortgage crisis like in the US and the UK? No.”

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman recently wrote a column in The New York Times likening the Turkey’s currency crisis to the Asian market crisis in the 1990s.

Many other prominent economists argued that the crisis was not a surprise since the government’s financial policies and authoritarian rule had terrified global investors by creating instability.

“[The US] has been trying to sacrifice a great country with an 81-million-strong population over a pastor who is affiliated with terrorist groups,” Erdoğan said, referring to American evangelical cleric Andrew Brunson, who has been incarcerated in Turkey for almost two years and has become the focus of the strained relationship between the US and Turkey.

“We respond to those who launch an economic war against our country by heading to new markets, new partners,” he said.

According a recent report in the Asia Times, Turkey has been trying to partner with China, quoting a Turkish economist who appeared on Chinese television and said: “Stability for the Turkish lira will come from cooperation with valuable countries like China. It’s impossible for the central bank to do something alone; resources are needed.”

“China has the opportunity to undertake the Sinification of Turkey at low cost,” the report said.

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