The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appealed to Turks to support their national currency by selling their dollars and euros. “If there are dollars under your pillow, take these out,” he told supporters in the north-eastern Turkish town of Ünye.
“If there are euros, take these out … immediately give these to the banks and convert to Turkish lira and, by doing this, we fight this war of independence and the future. Because this is the language they understand.”
The value of Turkish Lira slipped to an all-time low over the country’s unstable economy and weakening ties with the US government.
The national currency further depreciated by 20% against the dollar after the US President Donald Trump tweeted:
“I have just authorized a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
Prior to the tweet, the Lira has already taken a lot of beating as investors switched to US dollars and Japanese Yen which are considered safer options during financial market instability.
The Lira has depreciated by 50% against the dollar in the past 12 months and continued to hit successions of record lows this week.
Washington and Ankara have been conflicting on a lot of issues – from diverging interests in Syria to Turkey’s plans to purchase Russian defense technologies and the case of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.
President Trump has threatened to “slap” Turkey with large sanctions unless Ankara frees the U.S. pastor who is on trial for terrorism charges.
On Saturday, Erdoğan expressed his disappointment on US for choosing Brunson over a strategic NATO ally. He added that it is improper for the Trump administration to bring Turkey in line by using threats.