Plunge of lira hits Turkish football clubs: Goddamn Trump ruined us

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Galatasaray's vice president Abdurrahim Albayrak celebrates the 21st Turkish Super League championship title at Turk Telekom Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on May 20, 2018. The Istanbul club clinched the title for the 21st time in the 60th season of the Turkish Super League. With Turkey's league result, Galatasaray also secured a direct participation in the UEFA Champions League. Serhat Cagdas / Anadolu Agency

Abdurrahim Albayrak, vice president of Turkish football club Galatasaray, on Sunday strongly criticized US President Donald Trump for sanctions on Turkey that have resulted in the free fall of the Turkish lira, saying that the team cannot sell players during the currency crisis, Sputnik reported.

“There is a man… God damn it! He has ruined us. I am talking about Trump. Goddamn, he has ruined us. Our debt increased 25 percent in a day,” Albayrak told CNN Türk, underlining the difficulty of making player transfers.

“All clubs try to sell players. We cannot do it easily now. They were paid a huge amount of money when they were transferred. But clubs won’t agree to pay that amount when we try to sell them now,” added Albayrak.

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 Turkish lira plunged by more than 20 percent against the dollar on Friday.

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