Turkey’s president Saturday blamed the country’s economic problems on the United States and other nations, whom he says are waging an economic war against his country.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was responding to a drop in the value of the Turkish currency, the lira, against the U.S. dollar following the imposition of sanctions and tariffs by the United States in the past two weeks.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times Friday, Erdogan wrote “failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.”
Turkey and the United States squabbled last week over Turkey’s failure to free a U.S. pastor named Andrew Brunson from house arrest while he awaits his trial on terrorism charges. Brunson has been detained for the past 20 months on accusations that he supported groups the Turkish government deems terrorists.
In response to Turkey’s refusal to free Brunson, the United States placed sanctions on two Turkish officials. Additionally, on Friday President Donald Trump tweeted that he is increasing tariffs on U.S. imports of Turkish of steel and aluminum. He tweeted, “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
Tariffs on Turkish aluminum are to be increased to 20 percent and steel tariffs are to be moved up to 50 percent, according to Trump.
Turkish currency has lost about 40 percent of its value in the past year.