Erdogan says crash of lira 'political plot' against Turkey

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai China. Aly Song Reuters  File

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, on August 10, 2018.

Brunson was indicted for allegedly having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party and Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish preacher who has allegedly masterminded the failed coup attempt in 2016 to topple Erdogan. He did not name any countries.

Erdogan framed Turkey's crisis as a "national battle" against economic enemies including the United States at a rally in the Black Sea town of Ünye on Saturday.

"The country is neither crumbling, nor being destroyed or bankrupt or in a crisis", he said, and added that the way out of the "currency plot" was to boost production and "minimise interest rates".

"We have seen your play and we challenge you", he added, referring to the fluctuation of the Turkish Lira against the dollar. This is not some random country.

The lira's free-fall was the result of a plot and did not reflect Turkey's economic fundamentals, he said.

A Turkish delegation visited Washington for talks this week but left with no signs of a breakthrough.

Norine was released 13 days after her arrest, but the pastor, who has been in the country for more than 20 years, remained in prison for 21 months until a judge ruled his house arrest while the trial against him continues.

Turkey and the USA are now experiencing rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

After Trump doubled his tariffs on Turkish metals on Friday, Erdogan proclaimed that his country will surely prevail without the help or influence of the United States, despite Turkey's current economic collapse. "Without Turkish cooperation, US goals in Syria, Iran, Russia, and even Europe become more hard". Financial upheaval risks further destabilising an already volatile region.

But Erdogan downplayed the currency crisis, advising Turks to show solidarity by converting any stashed-away gold or foreign currency to Turkish lira in a bid to wage a "war of independence" against America. What possible reason could there be behind the lira which was at 2.8 against dollar in July 15, 2016 to slide below 6 yesterday?

"It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor", Erdogan said.

"If you have dollars under your pillow, take them out".

"If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah", he said, appealing to his religious Muslim base.

Ankara and Washington also disagree over their military interventions in the Syria war, Turkey's plan to buy missile defense systems from Russian Federation and the USA conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on sanctions-busting charges in January. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

Turkey, home to the Incirlik air base used by U.S. forces in the Middle East, has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since the 1950s. It is host to a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defence system against Iran.

"Turkey's greatest value to the U.S.is not economic but strategic", Singh continued.

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