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19 Sep, 2018 14:15

‘Turkey not America’: Erdogan continues crackdown on US dollar in favor of lira

‘Turkey not America’: Erdogan continues crackdown on US dollar in favor of lira

There is no economic crisis in Turkey, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey will extend the use of the domestic currency, the lira, as a substitute for the US dollar, he said.

“Don’t believe in this crisis. We don’t have such a thing. These are all [part of a] manipulation,” Erdogan said Wednesday.

“This is Turkey, not the United States,” he said. “You rent your store and shop with Turkish liras here. Otherwise you will pray a price.”

The lira has lost more than 40 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, which has stirred a number of economic difficulties in the country. Inflation is soaring, goods and services have become more expensive.

The Turkish central bank has raised the interest rate to 24 percent despite sharp criticism of this measure from the president himself. The last time the rate was that high in Turkey was 2004. However, this measure has helped to stabilize the lira exchange rate against the dollar.

Relations between the US and Turkey have deteriorated since the failed military coup against Erdogan in 2016. The Turkish president has accused Washington of protecting the coup plotters. The US began applying economic pressure after the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, accused by Ankara of aiding the failed military coup.

Brunson, a US citizen and Turkish resident for over two decades, was arrested in Turkey on charges of terrorism and espionage. He is facing up to 35 years behind bars if found guilty. A Turkish appeals court rejected Brunson’s bid for freedom in August.

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