ISTANBUL (Kurdistan 24) – The Ankara government has stepped up efforts to rekindle its broken ties with European Union nations amid a spat with Washington and yet another nosedive fall the Turkish Lira took against the US Dollar at the beginning of the week.
On Tuesday, the Lira neared 6.30 USD and 7.35 Euro a day after Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak signaled to improve relations with EU during a visit to Paris where he met with his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire.
The Lira has lost up to 40 percent of its value since the start of the year due to interest rates as low as 4.5 percent aggressively pushed by Erdogan and high inflation expected at 13.5.
Increasing foreign debt in hundreds of billions of dollars mostly spent on grand infrastructural projects, military expenditure as Turkey continues to fight Kurdish groups at home and those in Iraq and Syria, as well as tensions with the US, have added to the financial crisis.
At a press conference in Paris, Albayrak said Turkey and France, “as two allies, will act together” to counter tariffs President Donald Trump’s administration imposed by trading in Euro and not the American Dollar.
Ankara faced a severe backlash from Trump who sanctioned two Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum from the country over the continued detention of a dozen Americans, including Pastor Andrew Brunson accused of supporting terrorism, coup plotters, and Kurdish rebels.
On Monday, Erdogan talked on the phone with EU’s departing member UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May about the war in Syria and the Turkish economy.
Turkey is also cozying up to Germany, an important trade partner much vilified by Erdogan and the media close to him since the failed coup attempt in 2016 and particularly for Berlin’s granting asylum to dissidents.
Erdogan phoned his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday and praised commercial ties between the two sides. The Turkish President is set to visit Germany next month.
Juergen Hardt, a senior member of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee and an ally to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, had earlier told Bloomberg that Germany could help Turkey stabilize its economy if it changed policy, by respecting media freedoms, releasing Germans jailed for political reasons, and refraining from inflaming the war in Syria.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was on a trip to Lithuania, another EU member, where he said Ankara and Brussels needed each other. He will attend the EU Foreign Ministers’ convention at the Austrian capital of Vienna on Aug. 30-31.
Last month, he described Turkey’s decades-long application to join the EU as “a strategic goal.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany