Former German minister slams Trump’s Turkey policy

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – Germany's former foreign minister slammed U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday for pursuing the ‘irresponsible” policy of threatening Ankara with economic pressure and sanctions.

“Under the Trump administration, the U.S. is now trying to exploit Turkey’s economic difficulties, so to say, it is pushing Turkey off a cliff. I think this is irresponsible,” Sigmar Gabriel said in Berlin.

The Social Democrat politician stressed the importance of Turkey’s economic stability for European states, and urged the latter to look for ways to support Ankara, should it seek financial support from Europe.

“A destabilization of the Turkish economy, its society is not in our interest. The U.S. is far away, but we are neighbors. We have to shoulder any negative consequence,” he stressed.

Turkey-U.S. relations took a nosedive on Aug. 1, when the Trump administration announced sanctions on Turkey’s interior and justice ministers after Ankara refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

On Aug. 10, Trump upped the ante by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

In response, Turkey raised tariffs on several U.S.-made goods, including alcohol and tobacco products as well as vehicles.

Political tensions between Ankara and Washington had sparked worries in markets, but the Turkish lira has staged a recovery last week, after positive messages from European capitals and Qatar’s decision to invest $15 billion in Turkey.

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