Erdogan blames US for ‘heinous economic attack’ on Ankara

Press TV – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the United States of launching what he called a “heinous economic attack” on Turkey after the national currency lira hit a record low following US sanctions.

During a speech to officials from his AK Party in Ankara on Friday, Erdogan also said Turkey would see the result of the central bank’s independence after a substantial rate increase that was made a day earlier.

His remarks followed an announcement by Turkey’s central bank on Thursday that it had lifted its benchmark rate by 6.25 percentage points.

Erdogan further called on Turks to convert all savings to lira and also urged the private sector not to abandon production and investments.

Washington has imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the country. Such measures are largely believed to have led to a sharp decline in the value of Turkey’s national currency.

The lira has fallen more than 40 percent against the dollar this year, driving up the cost of food and fuel and sending inflation soaring to 18 percent, its highest in a decade and a half.

Washington took the punitive measures in protest at Ankara’s detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been accused of having links with terror organizations in Turkey.

To help ward off the impacts of US measures, the Turkish government has ordered exporters to convert 80 percent of their foreign exchange revenues into lira.

Erdogan had earlier lashed out at the US for behaving like “wild wolves,” stressing that Ankara would pursue non-dollar transactions in trade with Russia and other countries.

Turkey’s exports totaled $157 billion last year, according to official data.