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TURKEY’S President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the country to “trust in God” today as the currency crisis appeared to be spiralling out of control.
Mr Erdogan asked Turkish citizens to “change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks. This is a domestic and national struggle.”
The bullish authoritarian claimed he would not lose the “economic war” and vowed to take action against the countries he blames for starting it.
However, today’s doubling of tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump — 20 per cent on aluminium, 50 per cent on steel — sparked investor panic as the lira’s value plunged by 11 per cent, its worst performance since 2001, prompting fears of a crash.
But Mr Erdogan struck a defiant tone, telling supporters ahead of his address on the economy: “Don’t forget this: if they have got dollars, we have got our people, our right, our Allah.”
The economic instability threatens to scare off the foreign investment Turkey is desperate to attract in order to pay off its external deficit. Many Turkish businesses will struggle to pay off loans taken out in foreign currency, with some thought to be potentially at risk of collapse.
The lira has continued to tank during the escalating row between the US and Turkey after Washington placed sanctions on two of Turkey’s ministers on August 1 over the Pastor Brunson affair.
The US pastor is being held in Turkey, accused of colluding with the Gulenist network that Mr Erdogan holds responsible for the failed coup attempt of 2016.
Opposition parties have condemned the sanctions and called for the US to stop its interference in Turkey’s domestic affairs.
The lira had spiralled to 8.43 against the pound as the Star went to press.
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