Erdogan warns Turkey will ‘find new friends’ as US row deepens

Erdogan warns Turkey will ‘find new friends’ as US row deepens

First published on Yahoo

Erdogan warns Turkey will 'find new friends' as US row deepensRecep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Turkey would “seek new friends” after the US “upset and annoyed” Ankara with sanctions which triggered a major currency crisis. Turkey’s president told counterpart Donald Trump to respect its sovereignty “before it is too late”, plunging relations between the Nato allies to their lowest in decades. Writing in the New York Times – the broadsheet paper much loathed by the US president – Mr Erdogan said: "Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. "Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies." The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down nearly 200 points on Friday, as markets reacted negatively to a sharp plunge in Turkish currency, the Lira Credit: Getty The Turkish lira tumbled more than 16 per cent on Friday – a record low against the dollar – after Washington imposed sanctions as well as steel and aluminium tariffs to compel it to turn over a jailed American pastor. Mr Trump announced the punitive doubling of tariffs, which were imposed in protest over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested on terrorism charges after the attempted coup against Mr Erdogan in 2016, saying: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" The US is the biggest destination for Turkish steel exports with 11 per cent of the Turkish export volume. The country has weathered several tough economic crises over the decades, but has traditionally always had Washington’s staunch support. Mr Erdogan framed Turkey's crisis as a “national battle” against economic enemies, including the US. “If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah,” he said, appealing to his religious Muslim base. His supporters in the crowd ripped up one dollar notes in protest. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses citizens in Unye district during his visit to the flood hit province of Ordu Credit: Anadolu The president, who has consolidated unprecedented power through a series of referendums, advised 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. "It is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor," Mr Erdogan told a rally in the Black Sea town of Unye yesterday. "I am calling on those in America again. Shame on you, shame on you. You are exchanging your strategic partner in Nato for a priest." Mr Erdogan vowed there would be no easing of the law in Mr Brunson's case: "We have not made concessions on justice so far, and we will never make any," he said. Turkey and the US have disagreed on a number of issues since Mr Trump came into office, including Washington’s support of Kurdish groups in neighbouring Syria and its refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the cleric Mr Erdogan claims is behind the botched attempt to unseat him. Turkish citizens look at a board showing foreign currency rates inside a currency exchange shop in Ankara, Credit: AP The Trump administration has gone on a sanctioning frenzy in recent months, imposing them against Turkey, Iran and Russia, creating what experts have dubbed an “axis of the sanctioned”. Mr Erdogan said Turkey would be looking to form alternative economic alliances with " Iran, to Russia, to China and some European countries". Meanwhile, Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, accused Washington of an "addiction to sanctions and bullying". Mr Trump's "jubilation in inflicting economic hardship on its Nato ally Turkey is shameful," Mr Zarif wrote on Twitter. "The US has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions (and) bullying or entire world will unite – beyond verbal condemnations – to force it to. We've stood with neighbors before, and will again now," he warned.



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