Erdoğan urges Turks to sell their dollars and euros in an effort to back the lira.
Turkey’s relations with the US have worsened recently, resulting in a steep decline of the national currency’s value.
In an effort to restore the lira’s value, president Erdogan has repeated a call for Turks to support their national currency by selling any dollars and euros they may poses.
On saturday Erdoğan urged the Turkish people to help support the lira to win what he describe as a “war of independence”. In the town of Ünye, located in the north-eastern part of the country he told his supporters: “If there are dollars under your pillow, take these out, if there are euros, take these out … immediately give these to the banks and convert to Turkish lira and, by doing this, we fight this war of independence and the future. Because this is the language they understand.”
The lira, that has been under pressure in recent times due to concerns about the economy, suffered a major hit on Friday, when US president Donald Trump announced on twitter he authorized a strong increase on aluminium and steel tariffs.
I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018
The United States is the largest purchaser of Turkish steel, making up 11% of the Turkish export volume. Shortly after Trump’s twitter announcement, the lira briefly fell by a staggering 20% against the US dollar, reaching a record low. The currency last traded down 13.5 percent against the U.S. dollar, as reported by CNBC.
From Turkey’s ambition to buy Russian defence systems to diverging interests in Syria, on a wide range of topics, Washington and Ankara are currently not seeing eye to eye.
One particular topic the two countries have been at odds over, is the case of US pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson is being link to the failed coup d’état attempt from 2016, and is currently on trial in Turkey for espionage and terror-related charges.
After being imprisoned for almost 20 months, a court moved Brunson to house arrest last month. Since then, both Trump and vice-president Mike Pence have repeatedly called for his release. The government in Ankara has stated that the decision is up to the courts.
Erdoğan has called it a pity that the US chooses Brunson over its strategic Nato ally. Adding the US is in the wrong in its attempt to bring Turkey in line with threats, a day after Trump doubled the import tariffs on aluminium and steel from Turkey.
The lira suffers over worries about Erdoğan’s growing control of the economy, and has already lost one-third of its value this year. Making day to day life increasingly expensive for the countries population. Turkey said Erdoğan has discussed economic ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, hinting it might gravitate further away from its Nato allies toward cooperation with Russia, says the Guardian.