Turkey pledges action to calm markets

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels Belgium

The already embattled Turkish lira tumbled some 16 percent to new record lows against the dollar on Friday as US President Donald Trump said he had doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey.

Erdoğan stressed that the Turkish economy has not come to the edge of an economic crisis, pointing to the increase in manufacturing, exports and tourism revenues.

Reverberations spread through global financial markets, with European stock markets especially hit as investors took fright over banks' exposure to Turkey.

Turkey's row with the United States has further weighed on the lira.

His chief advisor and spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin pointed out more blatantly that the U.S. might lose Turkey for good. European banking stocks fell on Friday and the nervousness spread to the USA, where the S&P500 finished lost 0.7%.

"If they have the dollar, we have Allah", he said.

The Turkish lira has lost about 40 per cent of its value this year, largely over worries about Mr. Erdogan's influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates in the face of high inflation and worsening ties with the United States. "You impose sanctions on our Halkbank. and then you expect different treatment from Turkey?" said Erdogan, in a second speech in the same city.

Trump announced the punitive doubling of tariffs on Twitter, with the White House saying the sanctions would take effect from August 13. With God's permission we will overcome this'.

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The lira lost about 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year and, to reduce its volatility, Ankara has prepared an urgent action plan.

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.

Ankara wants the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

Erdogan also hit back at United States authorities for convicting Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, deputy director general of Turkish lender Halkbank on charges of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions on billions of dollars of oil proceeds. Gulen has denied the allegation.

Brunson has been detained for the past 20 months on accusations that he supported groups the Turkish government deems terrorists.

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.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump who is also representing Brunson's family, told talk-show host and political commentator Sean Hannity's radio program on Friday: "We're close to getting a resolution in that case".

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

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