March 25, 2019

US behind ‘economic assassination attempt’ on Turkey – Erdogan

“We have faced a heinous attack targeting the Turkish economy after a series of negative statements from the US about our country were used as an excuse,” said Erdogan, calling the collapse of the national currency against the dollar “an economic assassination attempt”.

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The Turkish government is trying to stabilize the lira, which has plunged over 40 percent against the US dollar this year. Erdogan said that all savings should be converted to lira, and called on Turks to trust the national currency.

The Turkish currency has strengthened after the central bank hiked the key interest rate by 6.25 percentage points to 24 percent. Erdogan has been a fierce opponent of raising rates and some investors in the Turkish economy had fears he could be interfering in the central bank’s affairs. Erdogan warned on Friday that his patience with interest rates had limits.

Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated since the failed military coup against Erdogan in 2016. The Turkish president has accused Washington of protecting coup plotters. The US began applying economic pressure after the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, accused by Ankara of aiding the failed military coup.

Brunson, a US citizen, and Turkish resident for over two decades, was arrested in Turkey on charges of terrorism and espionage. He is facing up to 35 years behind bars if found guilty. A Turkish appeals court rejected Brunson’s bid for freedom in August.

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