Turkey Warns the United States about Danger of Losing Strategic Partner

Turkish delegation returns home after meeting in US

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in years over the detention for the last two years of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

U.S. President Donald Trump has feuded with Erdogan over several issues, including the detention of an American pastor in Turkey, whom Turkey has held since 2016 and accused of espionage.

After Brunson had been in jail for nearly 20 months, a court in July ordered him to be moved to house arrest.

Last week, a Turkish delegation went to Washington and met USA counterparts but there was no breakthrough.

With the dispute intensifying, Trump on Friday doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, sending the beleaguered lira plunging 16 percent, part of a 40 percent plummet for the currency this year. "Without Turkish cooperation, USA goals in Syria, Iran, Russia, and even Europe become more hard".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stood by his opposition to high interest rates on Sunday despite sharp falls in the country's currency, saying the lira's weakness did not reflect the Turkey's economic realities. What possible reason could there be behind the lira which was at 2.8 against dollar in July 15, 2016 to slide below 6 yesterday?

"Interest rates are an exploitation tool that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer", Erdogan said.

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak speaks during a presentation to announce his economic policy in Istanbul, Turkey August 10, 2018.

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"We are preparing to trade in our local currencies with the countries that we have the largest trade volume such as China, Russia, Iran, and Ukraine".

Erdogan appeared to indicate that the entire alliance between Turkey - which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 with strong American backing - and Washington was at stake.

"If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah", he said, appealing to his religious Muslim base. Do not take a stance saying, "We are bankrupt, we are done, we should guarantee ourselves.' If you do that, that would be wrong".

The Turkish president also pointed out that Turkey was considering other markets and political alternatives to its "strategic partnership" with Washington, branding again the currency crash as an "economic war".

Turkey, home to the Incirlik air base which is used by US forces in the Middle East, has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since the 1950s.

Earlier Saturday, Erdoğan said that Turkey was preparing to increase trade with its top trade partners such as China, Russia, Iran and Ukraine in local currencies instead of the USA dollar, adding that it was also ready to do the same with European countries.

The U.S.is the biggest destination for Turkish steel exports with 11 percent of the Turkish export volume. "Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work", he said.

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