A Turkish Presidential Press Service handout image shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing people in Rize, Turkey, August 11 2018. Picture: REUTERS
A Turkish Presidential Press Service handout image shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing people in Rize, Turkey, August 11 2018. Picture: REUTERS

Istanbul — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday slammed the crash of the lira amid a widening spat with the US as a "political plot" and said his country would instead seek new markets and new allies.

"The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas from finance to politics. We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this," Erdogan told his party members in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

The US gave Turkey a deadline until last Wednesday, Erdogan said, to release an American pastor being tried by a Turkish court. The case of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical Christian, is one of a series of disputes that lies at the heart of deteriorating ties between the two Nato allies.

The embattled Turkish lira tumbled more than 16% to new record lows against the dollar as strains with the US intensified over Brunson, as well as Washington’s co-operation with the Syrian Kurdish militia force in the fight against Islamic State and other forces in Syria.

"We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half-century alliance with a country of 81 million people for the sake of relations with terror groups," Erdogan said. "You dare to sacrifice 81 million Turks for a priest who is linked to terror groups?"

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he had doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, which pushed the Turkish lira to new historic lows against the dollar. The White House said the newly imposed sanctions would take effect from August 13.

"We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances, to the one who waged an economic war against the entire world and also included our country," Erdogan said.

AFP

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