Turkish lira down 22% as crisis builds

President Donald Trump

The Pentagon said Friday that operations were continuing as normal at Incirlik air base, a key USA staging ground for Middle East operations, though the country suspended American access during a dispute over arms trading in the 1970s.

Erdogan on Friday appealed for calm and called on people to change foreign money into local lira. "Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies", Erdogan said.

Kinder Morgan Inc, the second largest North American pipeline operator, had already ordered almost half of the specialized pipe needed for its Gulf Coast Express project from Turkish steel maker Borusan Mannesmann before the original tariff went into effect, spokeswoman Sara Hughes said. The officials provided the information only on condition of anonymity according to protocol. It is host to an X-band radar, a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defence system again Iran. Russian Federation is also building a nuclear power plant.

On Friday, Trump authorized a doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports - to 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively - ratcheting up a diplomatic dispute with the NATO-member country.

Edward Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer who retired from the CIA refusing to work for the Trump administration, said the administration, in order to bring back Brunson, should fill the vacant USA ambassador's post in Turkey instead of levying tariffs that will ultimately have to be borne by Americans.

New Finance Minister Berat Albayrak - Erdogan's son-in-law - has promised stronger budget discipline and a priority on structural reforms.

That is unlikely to mollify investors who are also anxious by a growing dispute with the United States.

President Donald Trump announced tariff increases on Turkish metals as tensions between Turkey and the United States escalated.

The moves followed a series of actions the administration has taken in recent weeks to step up economic pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to release US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained in Turkey on espionage charges since October 2016.

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Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, put him on trial for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago.

Even before Trump's announcement, President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to exchange gold and dollars for lira in order to fight "an economic war". Early on Friday, the currency hit an all-time low of 6.30 against the USA dollar, Xinhua reported.

"This is a national, domestic battle". This will be my people's response to those who have waged an economic war against us'.

Istanbul Chamber of Industry on Friday called for urgent measures to cushion the potential damage of a free-falling lira on real sector, saying the fluctuation has turned into a source of financial instability.

Presenting the government's new economic model, Albayrak said the next steps of rebalancing would entail lowering the current account deficit and improving trust.

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and other media reports quote Mr Erdogan as making the comment to a group of worshippers following traditional Muslim Friday prayers during a visit to the northern city of Bayburt.

The ailing Turkish lira, which had already lost one third of its value this year largely over worries about Erdogan's wider control of the economy, crashed further to a fresh record low, at one point losing 18 percent, its biggest fall since 2001.

"The US runs the risk of losing Turkey as a whole".

The euro sagged to a 13-month low against the dollar on concerns that European banks operating in Turkey could suffer losses.

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