Erdoğan says US shot Turkey in the foot

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ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 04: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's Women Branch congress at the Ankara Sports Hall in Ankara, Turkey on August 04, 2018. Murat Kula / Anadolu Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said the US has shot Turkey in the foot with its recent sanction decisions, underlining that Ankara would not give in to the pressure and is “ready to fight,” the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Erdoğan accused the United States of seeking to stab Turkey “in the back” over a diplomatic row sparked by the detention of an American pastor that has sent the lira into a tailspin, AFP reported.

“You [US President Donald Trump] cannot say ‘I did it’ and that’s it. You may be a president. You cannot wake up in the morning and say I put such and such an amount of tax on steel and aluminum. You are a strategic partner on the one hand, and you shot us in the foot on the other,” Erdoğan said, speaking to Turkish ambassadors in Ankara.

“We are together in NATO, and then you seek to stab your strategic partner in the back. Can such a thing be accepted?” Erdoğan added, challenging US sanctions.

After imposing economic sanctions on two Turkish ministers on Aug. 1 for their role in the detention of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, President Trump on Aug. 10 ramped up sanctions on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

As tension between Ankara and Washington continues, the Turkish lira, which on Friday tumbled by as much as 18 percent at one point, its biggest daily drop since 2001, plunged to a new record low in in Monday’s early Asia Pacific trade, with the total loss in value exceeding 45 percent this year.

Claiming that the fall of the Turkish lira has no basis in economic fact, Erdoğan said: “Our economy has been under siege. This started with the Gezi [park protests in 2013] resistance. We prevented it with our nation by standing back to back.”

“We all agree that the developments concerning the currency are the product of a common mind,” added Erdoğan.

“You have to fight to reach peace. We are ready for war.”

The Turkish president also criticized social media messages about the currency crisis.

“There is terrorism of the economy on social media. The judiciary does what is needed. This is treason. We will destroy their lair.”

Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday said it was taking necessary legal measures for 346 social media posts regarding the dollar exchange rate that create a negative perception of the economy.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also stated that it had launched investigations into people who “threaten economic security” by sharing “manipulative” information about the plunge of the Turkish lira and related stories that constitute “economic attacks” against Turkey on social media.

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