Attacks on currency aim to weaken Turkey: MHP leader

By Sibel Ugurlu

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader on Friday said the attacks on currency aim to weaken Turkey.

Devlet Bahceli wrote on Twitter that the increase in currency rate against Turkish lira was caused by "cruel tyrannies and despotic sanctions" that aims "fall of Turkey"

His remarks came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by raising steel and aluminium tariffs on its NATO ally.

"Economic terror is being created on the pretext of a pastor," Bahceli said referring to American pastor Andrew Brunson who is under house arrest in Turkey.

"The unfinished treason on July 15 [failed coup in 2016] is being restructured."

Bahceli called on the Turkish people to unite against "the artificial jump" and embrace the Turkish lira.

"We need to be in solidarity. We need to show clearly and categorically that the artificial jump in currency cannot take this country as hostage," Bahceli added.

The MHP leader said the increase in currency was "a political and diplomatic blackmail" and not based on economy.

"We cannot and will not be submissive," he added.

The U.S. decision of raising steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey is another salvo in the growing dispute between Ankara and Washington.

Earlier this week, a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no movement on the detention of the American pastor.

Brunson's charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing Brunson.

The two NATO allies have been at odds since the defeated coup, which Ankara accused U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen and his FETO of masterminding.