ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As the economic row between Washington and Ankara deepens, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains defiant, describing the United States’ decision to impose sanctions an “operation.”
On Friday, US President Donald Trump said he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey.
During a speech at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) meeting in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on Sunday, Erdogan said the US “is making an operation against Turkey.”
“Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down,” he added, calling the imposing of sanctions an “economic war.”
The Trump administration has called for the immediate release of the US pastor, Andrew Brunson, who Turkey arrested in the aftermath of the failed 2016 military coup attempt.
Erdogan’s government charges Brunson, a Protestant evangelical pastor, with being involved in the putsch along with Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in the US.
The dispute between the NATO allies has caused the Turkish lira to crash as low as 7.22 against the US dollar.
“We have seen your play, and we challenge you,” Erdogan said during his speech in Trabzon, referring to the drop in over 16 percent of the Turkish lira against the dollar.
Despite his country’s currency falling significantly, the Turkish President is adamant Turkey is not on the brink of an economic crisis, calling on citizens to exchange US dollars and Euros for the Turkish lira.
“If you advance upon us by the dollar, we will look for other means to carry on our business,” Erdogan said, noting an increase in Turkey’s manufacturing, exports, and tourism revenues.
In a Friday opinion piece for the New York Times, he wrote that Turkey could turn to “other friends and allies,” if Washington continued its more hawkish policy vis a vis Ankara, without elaborating who those friends and allies would be.