Erdogan says Turkey will stand strong against attempted economic coup

Jermaine Castillo
August 19, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday his country would challenge those playing "games" on the economy, a day after two rating agencies downgraded Turkey's rating amid a currency turmoil.

On Thursday, Trump said Turkey had "taken advantage of the United States for many years" and referred to Brunson as a "great patriot" who was being held "hostage".

Meanwhile, Erdogan told the AKP congress that Turkey would press on with and expand its cross-border military operations.

Moody s likewise cited the weakening lira and downgraded Turkey s debt to Ba3, as well as "heightened concerns" for the central bank s independence and "the lack of a clear and credible plan" to address the causes of recent financial troubles.

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A Turkish court on Friday turned down another appeal to free the pastor in the third such rejection, his lawyer said. And while many global economists peg the currency's troubles to a combination of debt, inflation and Erdogan's vow to reject raising interest rates - a typical solution to these problems - Erdogan himself has found a ready villain: the U.S.

Anadolu Agency said a high court in Izmir upheld a lower court's decision earlier this week to keep pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest.

Pastor Andrew Brunson's fate is important to evangelical voters in the looming midterm elections in November, so Washington may impose more sanctions on allied Ankara, a former Turkish envoy to the United States says. In the beginning of his campaign, Trump vowed to help the famous motorcycle company lower the export tariffs to Europe, however most European countries in response to increasing aluminum and steel tariffs have in fact doubled and tripled the tariffs for Harley Davidson, making the motorcycles too expensive to export.

An important emerging market, Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and has been mostly pro-Western for decades. Erdogan previously suggested a swap in which Brunson is released in exchange for Gulen, though US officials have said Turkey must present convincing evidence for any extradition proceeding to be considered.

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Mr Trump later said in a tweet that the United States "will pay nothing" for Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

The lira has weakened 35 per cent against the dollar this year as the deterioration in ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies fuelled losses driven by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy.

"Do you think the lira will gain against the dollar if Brunson is released?" He criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

Turkey's currency remains steady against the dollar despite an apparent threat of possible new sanctions by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Investors, already anxious about Turkey's economy, were irked by a diplomatic and trade dispute with the United States over the continued detention of an American pastor Andrew Brunson on espionage and terror-related charges.

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