Erdogan vows Turkey will not be cowed by US

Marcus Newton
August 19, 2018

Turkey's president has said his country will stand strong against an "attempted economic coup" amid heightened tensions with the US.

Turkey, home to the Incirlik air base which is used by US forces in the Middle East, has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since the 1950s.

Escalating tensions on trade between the United States and some of its largest trading partners had driven traders to sell emerging market currencies and take to the safety of the US currency. "If the traitor in Pennsylvania is extradited to our country, the handover of the pastor may be in the offing, and both countries will get what they want", Devlet Bahceli, leader of a far-right political party allied with Erdogan, said Wednesday in Ankara, according to the Anadolu news agency.

"Turkey did not and will not surrender to those which try to make Turkey as a strategic target", he said in reference to the USA without naming the country.

"There was considerable risk aversion through the early part of the week with fears of Turkish contagion weighing on risk assets and that seems to have reversed somewhat here", said Karl Schamotta, a strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.

Also worrying investors has been President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.

It said: "The downgrade reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira and the resulting projected sharp balance of payments adjustment will undermine Turkey's economy". In retaliation, a Turkish court refused to release Brunson, and the Turkish government raised its tariffs on imports of American cars, alcohol and tobacco. Erdogan has in turn slapped sanctions on USA goods.

Turkish diplomats are reportedly close to releasing an imprisoned American pastor who is at the center of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the US.

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The United States has imposed sanctions on two Turkish government ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.

"They have invested a lot of pressure into the release of Brunson, given the importance of the midterm elections in the US".

Turkey has been pushing back against U.S. pressure, insisting that it will determine its own economic policies and choose its own trade partners.

It has lost almost 40 per cent of its value against the greenback this year, hit by both the diplomatic rift and investor alarm about President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

Pastor Andrew Brunson was swept up in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Turkey's currency remains steady against the dollar despite an apparent threat of possible new sanctions by U.S. President Donald Trump. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage.

If convicted, the American pastor faces up to 35 years in jail.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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