Turkey urges US to ‘stay loyal to Nato alliance’ as currency crisis deepens

A woman walks past by a board showing exchange rates in a currency exchange office in Istanbul. Photo: Reuters
A woman walks past by a board showing exchange rates in a currency exchange office in Istanbul. Photo: Reuters

Turkey’s foreign minister has called on the US to “remain loyal” to its Nato ties, as the country’s economic crisis deepened.

Turkey has been hit by financial turmoil, with the lira plunging to record lows over concerns about the government’s economic policies and a diplomatic row with the US.

Angered by the continued detention of an American pastor, Washington imposed sanctions on a number of Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs of steel and aluminium imports.

Addressing a conference in Ankara for Turkish ambassadors, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu yesterday called on the US to “remain loyal to ties based on traditional friendship and Nato alliance” with Turkey.

He said the US would not achieve aims by exerting pressure and imposing sanctions on Turkey.

“We support diplomacy and negotiations but it is not possible for us to accept impositions,” Mr Çavusoglu added.

His comments echoed those made by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend.

Writing in ‘The New York Times’, he warned Ankara would “seek new friends” after the US “upset and annoyed” Ankara with the new sanctions.

Mr Erdogan told Donald Trump to respect its sovereignty “before it is too late”, plunging relations between the allies to their lowest in decades.

Turkey yesterday announced it would take legal action against hundreds of social media accounts it said were “creating a negative perception” of the economy amid the ongoing plummet of the Turkish lira.

The interior minister said 346 social media accounts that posted comments about the weakening of the lira “in a provocative way” have been identified since August 7 and legal action has been launched. Mr Erdogan, who has publicly appeared to be in denial of the gravity of the situation, described the lira’s fall as the consequence of a plot rather than economic fundamentals.

He said that those spreading fake news about the economy would be considered treasonous.

In what has been dubbed “Black Friday” in Turkey, the lira dropped to 7.24 to the dollar.

The lira pulled back yesterday after the central bank pledged to provide liquidity and cut reserve requirements for Turkish banks, but its meltdown continued to rattle global markets.

The fresh lira collapse on Sunday night hit Asian shares, weakened the South African rand and drove demand in global markets for safe currencies including the dollar, Swiss franc and yen.

Irish Independent

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