ANAKARA President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Turks to “have no worries” after the national currency lira hit a new record low amid political tensions with the US.
The lira plunged to as low as 6 against the US dollar on Friday, a day after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington with no apparent solutions to their simmering crisis.
Erdogan, who has already said his country is facing an “economic war”, told supporters in the Black Sea province of Rize late on Thursday that there were “various campaigns being carried out” against the country.
“Don’t heed them. Don’t forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God. We are working hard. Look at what we were 16 years ago and look at us now,” he said.
Relations between the two NATO allies have taken a turn for the worseamid dispute over the detention in Turkey of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges.
US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter late last month that his country “will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
Erdogan responded by announcing to freeze the assets in Turkey of US ministers of “justice and interior,” in tit-for-tat response to US sanctions.
Ankara and Washington also disagree over their military interventions in the Syria war, Turkey’s plan to buy missile defense systems from Russia and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on sanctions-busting charges in January.
The standoff has triggered a selloff in the lira amid investor concerns about the direction of the country. Erdogan called on citizens last week to convert their hard currency and gold into lira in order to prop up the plunging currency with a “domestic and national stance.”
Erdogan wants banks to lend cheap credit to fuel growth. He has presented an economic action plan for the next 100 days.
Ankara is turning towards China to overcome what Erdogan said were subjective evaluations from ratings agencies. Erdogan said China, Mexico, Russia and India will be new markets for his countrys exports.
The new economic action plan calls for Turkey to issue a renminbi bond and borrow from China to proceed with 400 new infrastructure and other showpiece projects whose value is estimated at $9 billion.
Turkeys ties with the US have soured over Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of masterminding a 2016 coup against President Erdogan.
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