Press TV – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on his nation to demonstrate “commitment and determination” as firm guarantees needed to combat “attacks” on Turkey’s economy amid the country’s deepening financial crisis triggered by an array of sanctions imposed by the United States over the detention of an American pastor.
“As we tackle attacks against the Turkish economy today, our biggest guarantee is the commitment and determination of every member of our people to take hold of their independence, nation, and future,” the Turkish leader said in a statement he issued on Saturday, the anniversary of the Battle of Malazgirt, a historic victory for the Turks in Anatolia nearly a millennium ago.
In the Battle of Malazgirt, or Manzikert, which broke out on August 26, 1071, Seljuk Turks, led by Sultan Alparslan, defeated a Byzantine army and opened up Anatolia for Turkish domination.
“Defying a host of attacks from inside and out, our people have clung to this soil for almost 1,000 years thanks to the soul of Malazgirt,” Erdogan said in the written statement.
The Turkish lira has lost about 40 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of August, when tensions between the two NATO allies soared unprecedentedly over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey over terror-related charges.
Brunson, 50, was indicted by a Turkish court on charges of having links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and the movement of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan.
Brunson, who has already spent nearly two years behind bars in Turkey, has denied the charges, calling them “shameful and disgusting.” If he is found guilty, he will face up to 35 years in jail. His imprisonment and then house arrest have caused one of the deepest rows between Turkey and the United States.
Late last month, US President Donald Trump said Washington would impose “large” sanctions on Turkey for the long detainment of the pastor, and earlier this month ordered to double the US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
The US is the world’s biggest steel importer, and Turkey is the sixth-largest steel exporter to the US.
In a tit-for-tat move, Ankara has increased tariffs on several US-origin products including alcohol, tobacco products and cars.
Erdogan accuses the White House of launching an economic war against Ankara, describing the move as a “coup” against the Turkish economy.
“As long as this soul, which made us take the Malazgirt victory and makes it possible to protect our unity despite our differences, is kept alive, nobody can hold back our country from reaching its goals for 2023, 2053, and 2071,” the Turkish president further said on Saturday, referring to his country’s centenary and the 600th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul, as well as Malazgirt.
Last week, a Turkish court rejected an appeal for Brunson’s release, prompting Trump to deliver a stiff rebuke, saying Washington would not take the detention “sitting down.”
Turkey and the US also disagree over their military interventions in the Syria war, Ankara’s plan to buy missile defense systems from Russia and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on sanctions-busting charges in January.