Turkish President Erdogan says collapse in lira a plot against the country

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that the collapse in the value of the Turkish lira was a political plot against the country.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, Erdogan said: “What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup? There is no economic reason for this … This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

Read more: Trump doubles steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey as lira nosedives

On Friday the value of the lira against the dollar fell to a record low, having fallen against the dollar by more than 40 per cent this year.

Erdogan today repeated his call for Turks to sell foreign currency to support the lira.

The lira has been pummelled this year by worries over Erdogans influence over the economy and worsening relations with the US.

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line against Turkey over the fate of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained in Turkey for the last two years, accused of links to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Gulenist movement which has faced a crackdown after a failed coup in 2016.

At the weekend Trump said he had authorised the doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium to 50 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Read more: Turkish bank concerns raise Europe contagion risk

He tweeted: “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

Erdogan called the tariffs “missiles” in an economic war being waged against Turkey.

In a New York Times article at the weekend Erdogan threatened that NATO-member Turkey could “start looking for new friends and allies” if the US did not reverse its trend of “unilateralism and disrespect”.

Turkey also wants the US to hand over Pennsylvania preacher Fethullah Gulen which it blames for the 2016 coup attempt.

The two countries are also at odds over the war in Syria, where the US supports Kurdish militants with links to the outlawed PKK, long viewed as a threat by Turkey.

The US has also criticised Turkeys decision to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia, which it says are not compatible with systems used by fellow NATO allies.

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