Erdogan vows to defy United States 'threats' after currency crash

Trump vows to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said it was wrong of the United States to try to bring Turkey into line with threats, a day after President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish metal imports as the row between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies deepened. "It is a national fight", Erdogan said. He did not name any countries. Regulators told industry executives to study the impact of interest- and exchange-rate shocks, with the findings to be discussed at the meeting, the people said.

The lira tumbled 14 percent in one day, to 6.51 per dollar - a massive move for a currency that will make the Turkish poorer and further erode worldwide investors' confidence in the country.

Pastor Andrew Brunson is on trial on espionage and terror-related charges related to a failed 2016 coup attempt, which he and the USA government adamantly deny.

Erdogan also appeared to allude to a "deadline" for handing over Brunson, although he did not name the United States as having set any such deadline or say precisely when it might have expired.

"They are threatening us". This is not some random country.

The latest escalation between Ankara and Washington was denounced by the Turkish press, with pro-government daily Sabah saying "the currency attack" was no different from the attempted coup of July 2016.

Andrew Brunson has been in Turkish custody since 2016, when he was arrested on charges of terrorism and support of a group held responsible for an attempted coup of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

So, to hike tariffs on Turkey, Trump needed a reason why maintaining America's domestic metal industry required imposing even steeper tariffs on Turkish exports than were already in place.

An important emerging market, Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and has been mostly pro-Western for decades. Financial upheaval there risks further destabilizing an already volatile region.

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Ash continued: "I don't think you can understate the geopolitical significance".

"Their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong dollar!"

The currency drop is particularly painful for Turkey because the country finances a lot of its economic growth with foreign money.

In the worst case scenario of the collapse of a European bank, there could be "contagion" - other countries and banks, including those in Britain, may be imperilled - raising the spectre of the economic turmoil that followed the 2008 global banking crisis.

The lira sell-off has deepened worries particularly about whether over-indebted firms will be able to pay back loans taken out in euros and dollars after years of overseas borrowing to fund a construction boom, Reuters reported. The president - instead of reassuring the markets, whose collapsing confidence is one of the main drivers behind the lira's unprecedented depreciation - slammed Western countries and accused them of waging economic warfare on Turkey.

"Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies", he added.

Erdogan urged Washington to give up the misguided notion that bilateral relations could be "asymmetrical" and realise that Turkey had alternatives "before it is too late".

The diplomatic dispute with the USA was one of the triggers that turned market jitters into a full-blown rout this past week. It is host to a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defence system against Iran.

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