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Erdogan says US set deadline for pastor's release

12 August 2018

A Financial Times report said the European Central Bank was anxious that Turkish citizens would start defaulting on their loans.

Ahead of the USA data, Turkish President Erdogan's speech due at 1100 GMT could also fuel some fresh volatility around the European currency.

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!" the president wrote in a tweet.

Prior to Trump's announcement, the Turkish lira fell to its lowest point ever against the US dollar on Friday. "The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands", Kalin, also a spokesperson for Erdogan, wrote for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

"We will say goodbye to those, who sacrifice its strategic partnership and alliance with a country of 81 million people on the altar of its relations with terror organizations", he said.

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Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated further this week as US President Donald Trump raised tariffs against Turkish aluminium to 20% and to 50% in terms of steel.

The Trump administration threatened to impose additional sanctions on Turkey if it did not meet the deadline, Erdogan said.

Turkey and the United States squabbled last week over Turkey's failure to free a US pastor named Andrew Brunson from house arrest while he awaits his trial on terrorism charges.

He said Turkey's response was not going to be based on "reciprocity", adding: "Those who commit a crime will pay a price".

President Donald Trump announced tariff increases on Turkish metals as tensions between Turkey and the United States escalated.

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Erdogan framed Turkey's currency crisis as a "national battle" against economic enemies, namely the United States, saying 'if they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah'.

"These are the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of an economic war waged against our country", he said.

The Turkish president was referring to American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is accused of ties to Erdogan's arch-nemesis, Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, and whose extradition the Turks have been demanding on the grounds that he organized the 2016 coup attempt against the Erdogan regime. Gulen has denied the allegation.

He reiterated his call on citizens to change US Dollars and Euros for the Turkish Lira in the face of a sharp plunge his country's currency witnessed in financial markets this week. "The U.S. has to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions & bullying or entire world will unite - beyond verbal condemnations - to force it to".

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Erdogan says US set deadline for pastor's release