UPDATE – Turkey to say 'bye bye' to ally opting for terrorists

UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES, CHANGES HEADLINE

By Nilay Kar Onum

ISTANBUL (AA) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday criticized the U.S., saying Turkey will say “bye bye” to those, who prefer terrorists to their strategic partner.

Erdogan was speaking at ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s meeting in northeastern Turkish province of Trabzon.

“We will say bye bye to those, who sacrifice their strategic partnership and alliance with a country of 81 million people on the altar of their relations with terror organizations," he said.

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 American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

“Aren’t we strategic partners?” Erdogan asked Washington. “What happened to you now? Why are you destroying this partnership?”

Calling on Trump to act justly, he said: “We will act according to the international law."

No body, no state and no credit rating agency can threaten Turkey and Turkish people, he added.

– Economic war

Erdogan said Turkey would turn towards new markets, new partners and alternative financial tools.

“If you pressure us through the dollar, we will look for other ways to carry out our works,” he said.

“We will give our response to the person — who declares war against the whole world including our country — by turning towards new markets, new partners and new alliances," Erdogan added.

Terming the recent U.S. tariffs on Turkey as an “economic war,” the Turkish president said: “We’ve seen your game and we will challenge it.”

The aim of the recent U.S. pressure is “to seize Turkey in every field from finance to politics,” the president noted.

“We will not surrender,” Erdogan asserted. “We will continue producing. We will continue increasing our exports.”

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