Lira steady after Turkey says US waging 'economic war'

Published: August 23, 2018
Turkish lira banknotes are seen in this picture illustration. PHOTO: REUTERS

Turkish lira banknotes are seen in this picture illustration. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira was little changed on Thursday after Turkey accused Washington of waging “economic war” and failing to respect its legal system over the fate of an evangelical Christian pastor whose trial in Turkey has soured ties between the NATO allies.

At 0453 GMT, the lira TRYTOM=D3 TRY= stood at 6.0314 against the dollar, sticking close to Wednesday’s close of 6.0330 and down 37 percent this year.

Trade was thinner than usual and probably mainly offshore as Turkish markets closed on Monday for a week’s holiday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson said comments by President Donald Trump’s national security adviser showed the United States is targeting Turkey’s economy and he said it was not reflecting NATO’s fundamental principles and values.

“His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war,” spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement to Reuters late on Wednesday, responding to comments by Trump adviser John Bolton.

“The Trump administration has … established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” Kalin said, pointing to similar disputes with Mexico, Canada, Europe and China.

Bolton told Reuters during a visit to Israel he was skeptical about the pledge of $15 billion of investment support for Turkey by Qatar’s emir, which was “utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy.”

He also said Turkey had made a “big mistake” in not freeing pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for two decades and has been detained for 21 months on terrorism charges. He denies the accusations and is now under house arrest.

Kalin called on Washington to respect Turkey’s judicial independence, one of Ankara’s most pointed responses yet to criticism over Brunson’s detention.

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