Turkey's Erdogan calls on Turks to buy lira for 'national battle'

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While Turkey and the United States are at odds over a host of issues, the most pressing disagreement has been over the detention of USA citizens in Turkey, notably Christian pastor Andrew Brunson who is on trial on terrorism charges. The lira, which has always been falling on worries about the government's influence over monetary policy and the USA tensions, plunged more than 18 percent at one point on Friday to a record low against the dollar. Early on Friday, the currency hit an all-time low of 6.30 against the USA dollar, Xinhua reported.

The White house said he had authorised the move under Section 232 of USA trade law, which allows for tariffs on national security grounds.

President Erdogan has railed against what he calls the economic siege of Turkey and against a supposed American conspiracy.

The Turkish leader also hailed economic ties with Russia, saying as many as 6 million Russians tourists would visit Turkey this year.

The currency has fallen more than 35 percent this year after losing almost a quarter of its value in 2017. The U.S. responded by slapping sanctions on Turkey and threatening more.

The lira has been in turmoil over worries about the country's high debt levels, rising inflation, President Tayyip Erdogan's refusal to consent to an increase in interest rates and tension between the European country and the US.

In a separate opinion piece in the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey's efforts to solve the crisis with diplomatic methods have been dismissed by the Trump administration, warning that Washington might completely lose Ankara as an ally.

Erdogan appealed to a crowd in the city of Bayburt to exchange dollars and gold for Turkish lira to prop up the plunging currency.

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The White House said Trump would use a section of US law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds to impose the increased duties. Graham called Turkey's case against Brunson a "sham".

Another Republican senator, Rob Portman of OH, reiterated a previous warning to Trump against "misuse" of the section of the law that allows the president to impose tariffs on national security grounds.

Over three decades of periodic currency storms, such as the early 1990s Mexican peso plunge, and the Asian crisis a few years later, "the market's underlying assumption was that the USA would try to be helpful" during periods of extreme foreign-exchange volatility, said Shahab Jalinoos, head of global currency strategy at Credit Suisse Group.

The review is in response to Turkey's imposition of additional tariffs on US$1.78bn worth of USA imports, which came in retaliation for the United States' additional tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium products.

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

United States imports of Turkish steel account for 4 percent of total steel imports, according to statistics from 2017. Washington imposed financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and warned of additional measures.

The Financial Times added to concerns with a report that the European Central Bank was anxious about possible losses at eurozone banks operating in Turkey.

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