Turkish president blasts ‘economic coup’ amid heightened tensions with US

Turkish president blasts ‘economic coup’ amid heightened tensions with US
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday blasted what he called an “attempted economic coup” amid heightened tensions with the U.S.

Erdoğan told thousands of supporters in Ankara that Turkey is “threatened by the economy, sanctions, foreign currency, interest rates and inflation,” The Associated Press reported. He went on to vow to stand up to foreign pressure.

The U.S. and Turkey, which is a NATO ally, are in the middle of an intense feud over trade and the fate of U.S.-born pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held under house arrest in Istanbul for nearly two years on terrorism and espionage-related charges.

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The White House has already sanctioned two top Turkish officials over Brunson’s detention, and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump hypes China trade deal as new doubts emerge Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire MORE on Thursday threatened even more sanctions if Turkey does not release Brunson quickly.

The two countries are also imposing tit-for-tat tariffs. The White House put in place tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, while Ankara responded with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, including on cars and coal, and by threatening to boycott U.S. electronics.

“Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!” Trump tweeted Thursday.

The tariffs have taken their toll, as the Turkish lira’s value has dropped 38 percent against the dollar since the start of the year, according to the AP.