Turkey's Erdogan says attack on economy no different from attack on flag

Galtero Lara
Agosto 20, 2018

Brunson's incarceration in a Turkish prison has soured the two countries' relationship, sparking a crisis that has contributed to a sharp decline in Turkey's currency.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, August 14, 2018.

"Today some people are trying to threaten us through the economy, through interest rates, foreign exchange, investment and inflation", Erdogan told the congress of his ruling AK Party.

The lira's value dropped 38 percent against the dollar since the beginning of the year and sunk as low as 7.24 this week.

But the United States said that discussions regarding the fines and other areas of dispute between the two countries were off the table until Brunson was released, a White House official told the Wall Street Journal.

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His remarks came in response to a recent currency sell-off that has spread to other emerging market currencies and global stocks.

The case of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical Christian missionary from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for two decades, has become a flashpoint between Washington and Ankara and accelerated a widening currency crisis.

President Donald Trump's administration has rejected Turkey's offer to condition the release of an American pastor on clearing a top Turkish bank of billions of dollars in U.S. fines, media reported Monday.

Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's ratings agencies cut Turkey's sovereign credit ratings deeper into "junk" territory late on Friday.

The president also reshuffled his top management during the congressional meeting Saturday, held at the capitol city of Ankara. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the United States is willing to do so if Brunson isn't released.

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