The Latest: Erdogan, Putin talk economic ties as lira falls
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on Turkey’s financial turmoil (all times local):
Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which they discussed economic ties between the two countries.
Officials from Erdogan’s office said the two on Friday “expressed pleasure” that economic and financial ties between their countries were progressing “positively” and of the continued cooperation in the defense industry and energy. The officials provided the information only on condition of anonymity according to protocol.
It was an apparent reference to Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems. Russia is also building a nuclear power plant.
The news of the conversation came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorized the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs “with respect to Turkey,” causing the Turkish currency to plunge further against the dollar.
In a bid to ease investor concerns about Turkey’s economic policy, the country’s finance minister says the government will safeguard the independence of the central bank.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak on Friday also vowed sustainable and healthy economic growth as well as “strong struggle” against inflation, which currently stands at close to 16 percent.
Albayrak was speaking at a conference where he outlined his ministry’s “new economic policy” as the currency plunged, raising questions about the country’s financial stability.
He said: “One of our principles will be ensuring the full independence of monetary policy.”
Investors are worried about the president’s unorthodox economic policies, pressure exerted on the central bank, and a dispute with the United States that has led to sanctions.
President Donald Trump says he’s just authorized the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs “with respect to Turkey.”
Trump says via tweet that the tariff on aluminum imports will be increased to 20 percent and the tariff on steel imports will be raised to 50 percent as the Turkish Lira “slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!”
Trump is also declaring that, “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
The United States slapped sanctions on two Turkish officials earlier this month over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges.
Turkey vowed retaliation “without delay” and warned the move would further harm relations between the two allies.
Trump’s tweet caused a further drop in the Turkish currency, which is now down 13 percent on the day.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is appealing for calm as the country’s currency plunges, urging people to change foreign money into local lira.
The lira tumbled about 10 percent on Friday to another record low as investors worry about Erdogan’s unorthodox economic policies and U.S. sanctions.
Erdogan said during an address to supporters: “Change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks. This is a domestic and national struggle.”
He appeared to blame foreigners for trying to hurt Turkey, saying: “This will be my people’s response against those waging an economic war against us.”
The lira fell further as Erdogan spoke.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government “will not lose the economic war.”
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and other media reports quote Erdogan as making the comment to a group of worshippers following traditional Muslim Friday prayers during a visit to the northern city of Bayburt.
On Friday, the Turkish currency plunged to another record low amid concerns over Erdogan’s unorthodox economic policies and a diplomatic row with the United States that has led to sanctions.
The lira hit a record low of 6.24 per dollar on Friday, before recovering to 5.96, down more than 7 percent on the day.
An analyst at Berenberg bank in London is downplaying the risks to Europe’s economy from Turkey’s currency turmoil, saying the impact on trade would be small.
European economist Carsten Hesse said Friday that even if the export of goods to Turkey falls 20 percent that would take no more than 0.1 percentage point from annual GDP in the 19 countries that use the euro currency.
He cautioned that a banking crisis in Turkey could have “some negative repercussions” on eurozone banks that loaned money there or own Turkish banks. But he said that the possible losses seem “too small to cause a significant eurozone crisis.”
Hesse noted that business confidence in the eurozone did not suffer after Turkey’s economy contracted in 2016 in the wake of a failed coup there.
The euro sagged to a 13-month low against the dollar amid worries about the impact of financial market turmoil in Turkey.
The 19-country currency fell 0.7 percent to trade at $1.1450 in morning trading in Europe. The dollar, which traders buy in times of financial concern, was up against most other currencies.
The euro’s fall comes as investors try to come to grips with how big a threat the troubles in Turkey might pose for the currency union. Turkey’s currency sagged to an all-time low Friday amid doubts about the country’s economic management and souring ties with the United States.
The Financial Times added to concerns with a report that the European Central Bank was worried about possible losses at eurozone banks operating in Turkey. European officials also rely on a deal with Turkey to restrain migrant flows in return for aid.
The Turkish currency has plunged to an all-time low amid concerns over the president’s economies policies persisted and as a dispute with the United States showed no sign of subsiding.
The lira hit a record low of 6.24 per dollar on Friday, before recovering to 5.94, down 7 percent on the day. The currency has fallen 66 percent since the start of the year.
High level meetings in Washington between U.S. and Turkish officials over a detained American pastor ended this week without an apparent resolution. Washington imposed financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and warned of additional measures.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday portrayed the currency drop as a “campaign” to harm Turkey.
He said: “If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah.”