Turkey is a 'target of economic war', Erdogan says

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

He said the tariffs on aluminum imports would be increased to 20 percent and those on steel to 50 percent as the Turkish lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

The statement followed Trump's tweet on Friday that he has authorized doubling the tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Turkey to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.

President Erdogan urged his people in a counter-tweet: "Change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks".

Turkey's steel exports were valued at $11.5 billion past year, accounting for 7.3 percent of its total exports worth $157 billion, according to the Turkish Steel Exporters' Association.

But Erdogan indicated he was in no mood to offer concessions to the United States, or financial markets. "Exit of funds from the Turkish financial markets can be an opportunity for the Egyptian economy as a competitive market in the same region".

On Thursday Ergodan said Turkey will withstand the economic pressure.

Turkey is also ready to establish a similar system - to not use dollar in trade - with European countries, Erdogan noted. It is wrong to try to punish Turkey for a priest who is here.

The lira has always been falling on worries about Mr Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.

Washington in response sanctioned two Turkish ministers and Trump on Friday announced it was doubling the tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Turkey, saying relations with Ankara were "not good at this time".

Erdogan appeared unworried by the punitive measures imposed by the U.S., saying Turkey could turn to other partners and again terming the crisis an "economic war".

Erdoğan had warned Saturday that Turkey would start looking for new friends if the US continued with its unilateral actions against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, in a diplomatic row that has sent Ankara and Washington relations to a new low.

The aim of the recent US pressure is "to seize Turkey in every field from finance to politics", the president noted.

"They tell us to release the priest by Wednesday 6pm, otherwise the sanctions will begin", Mr Erdogan said, revealing details of talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Washington on Wednesday.

Turkish officials held talks in Washington this week, but there was no breakthrough.

Turkey also warned there would be retaliation against the US' imposition of the tariffs.

Iran gave its most explicit rejection yet of talks with the United States on Saturday, and accused Washington of an "addiction to sanctions" over its latest spat with Turkey. Gulen denies the allegation.

Brunson was arrested in October 2016 on charges of being an American spy and terrorist complicit in the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in the summer of 2016.

His cause resonates with Trump's Christian conservative supporters, who could be influential as Republicans seek to retain control of Congress in midterm elections in November.

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