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Erdogan: The collapse of the lira is a conspiracy against Turkey

14 August 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against the United States on Monday, criticizing that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally seeks to "stab Turkey in the back" by the use of sanctions. The currency crisis would then turn into a financial crisis impacting European banks.

The diplomatic dispute has sent shockwaves through financial markets across the world as the plunging lira causing currencies in other developing countries to nosedive.

On Monday, the lira pulled back from its record low of 7.24 to the dollar following an announcement by the Central Bank that it would provide liquidity.

Mr Erdogan, who has presided over soaring inflation and borrowing levels, said the lira's fall was the result of a plot rather than prevailing economic conditions.

Erdogan also renewed a call for Turks to convert their dollars into the Turkish lira, to help strengthen the currency. "We are going to boycott USA electronics", Erdogan said at celebrations of the 17th anniversary of his Justice and Development Party.

The dispute with the USA has centered on the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial for espionage and terror-related charges. "We will implement these", he said.

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In his speech, Erdogan, referring to industrialists, said, "Do not prefer to rush to banks and buy foreign currency".

On Monday the lira briefly shot past seven to the dollar in early Asian trading, before recovering after Turkey's central bank announced liquidity support measures.

Copper prices, meanwhile, often seen as a proxy for global economic growth, were down 1 percent at $6,131 a tonne.

The Turkish president, who is voluble even in his country's calmest moments, has spoken in public repeatedly as the currency has tumbled, repeating his assertions that the depreciation is due to the sabotage by outside powers and insisting that the fundamentals of the Turkish economy are strong.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been at odds over Syria and Turkey's ambition to buy Russian defense systems, but anger has flared up recently over evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson.

A day later Trump demands Turkey free the pastor "immediately", warning the United States is ready to impose "large sanctions" against Turkey.

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"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands. "I believe the new and important topics will be discussed in this call, otherwise there would not be such an attempt".

"Yes, the developments that are now going on in Turkey are causing great concern", Maas said. Eurozone countries run a trade surplus with Turkey but it is small and in the two previous Turkish financial crises since the turn of the millennium, European exporters have been able to divert their business to other markets.

Turkey's relations with United States and Germany have been strained by its decision to arrest several citizens from both countries.

He had been in jail for nearly 20 months when a court in July ordered him moved to house arrest.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a punitive doubling of tariff rates on steel and aluminum products from Turkey to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.

And confidence is hardly being shored up by Erdogan's interference with economic policy and his threatening of the Central Bank's independence-a fear exacerbated by the appointment of his son-in-law as head of the ministry of finance, giving Erdogan another key lever of control.

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Erdogan: The collapse of the lira is a conspiracy against Turkey