UPDATE – ‘We see your game and challenge it,’ Erdogan says


By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned against threatening his country with sanctions.

“Some are threatening us with economy, sanctions, exchange rates, interests and inflation. We see your game and we challenge it," Erdogan said at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's sixth ordinary congress in the capital Ankara.

“Turkey did not and will not surrender to those which try to make Turkey as a strategic target,” he said in reference to the U.S. without naming the country.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on two government ministers for not releasing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

On Aug. 10, President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

Last Wednesday, in retaliation, Turkey increased tariffs on several U.S.-origin products, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars.

Erdogan said that Turkey would never bow before those "who set up their own order by exploiting the world."

The Turkish president emphasized Turkey's determination to eliminate all threats from Syria and Iraq.

"Turkey will continue cross-border operations by expanding them further," Erdogan said. "We will do what we previously did in Jarabulus, Al-Bab, Afrin along our border starting from Suruc to Cizre," he added.

Turkey has repeatedly said the presence of terror forces near its border constitutes a threat and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists.

The AK Party normally holds its grand congress once every three years. The last one was in September 2015.

In May 2017, the AK Party held an extraordinary congress following the historic approval of a raft of constitutional changes that April. At the congress, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reelected as head of the party.