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The war on Turkey continues

Turkish President and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during AK Party’s rally in Istanbul, Turkey on 22 June 2018 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during AK Party’s rally in Istanbul, Turkey on 22 June 2018 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]

The failed coup in Turkey in 2016 was not the last of the battles waged by the US against Turkey and President Erdogan in particular, as America is constantly waging battles in order to overthrow Erdogan after he moved Turkey from the American orbit which it revolved around. Erdogan wanted Turkey to be independent and guarantee its sovereignty in its decisions. Although he knew that sovereignty had a very high price that could cost him his life, he still risked everything for the sake of Turkey’s sovereignty.

After the failed coup attempt, they tried to topple him in the elections and the state of Israeli conspiracies, the UAE, poured tens of billions of dollars in this attempt, but their attempts ended in failure and had the same fate as the ones before it.

US sanctions on Turkey – Cartoon [AlArabi21News/Twitter]

The US then resorted to an economic war and issued decisions to raise the fees on some Turkish imports, mainly on steel and aluminium. Trump also froze the funds of two Turkish ministers in American banks. His targeting of the Turkish lirawas very clear from the beginning, and the crisis between the US and Turkey is no longer over the spying priest, Andrew Brunson, who was arrested by the Turkish authorities during Obama’s presidency, but Trump suddenly raised the subject of his arrest and demanded that Turkey release him. The Turkish judiciary refused to release him, which further angered Trump, who threatened to impose a series of sanctionson Turkey. President Erdogan responded in the same manner by doubling customs feeson American products, raising them by 100 per cent.  The US rudely or arrogantly objected to this decision and considered it a retaliatory response by Erdogan, stating that the US only raised the fees on steel and aluminium to preserve its national security.

READ: Turkish lira weakens after Trump says ‘no concessions’ 

The economic war on Turkey reminded us of what happened in East Asia in 1997, when the economy of the emerging Asian tigers, Indonesia and Malaysia, was hit. This is now happening with Turkey. It is worth noting that what these countries have in common is the fact that they are Muslim countries. The Turkish government adopted the principle of encouraging exports to support the economy, and therefore we have seen the adoption of a monetary expansion policy for many years. This monetary expansion led to the continued devaluation of the lira against foreign currencies.

Turkish companies naturally had a desire to grow and expand, so they began approaching foreign banks. These banks have financial surplus that they wanted to invest, so they approached emerging economies, beginning with Turkey, which was growing at a fast rate. The Turkish companies found the deal tempting, as they could get a loan at a low interest rate in order to continue their growth, which would support Turkish exports abroad. However, suddenly, the interest rates on the dollar and Euro increased, causing a lag in the growth of the Turkish economy and an increase in interest rates. This put the Turkish companies between a rock and a hard place, and therefore they resorted to Turkish banks for loans to fund their operations and repay their debts in dollars. However, this process of borrowing in lira to repay their debts in dollars is leading to the further deterioration of the lira’s value against the dollar, and with the devaluation of the lira, the imports become more expensive for the Turkish companies. This caused the crisis at a time when another party (I do not rule out the possibility of it being the UAE and Saudi Arabia) worked to remove the Turkish lira from the international money markets, so that if citizens of Turkey wanted to exchange dollars from Turkish Liras, they wouldn’t find any. Hence they imposed an economic blockade on Turkey by means of a dirty game.

READ: Former German minister slams Trump’s Turkey policy 

However, fate had it that the targeting of the Turkish lira united the Turks, including their government, opposition and people, contrary to the expectations of those tampering with its exchange rate and the countries opposed to Turkey encouraging these acts, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The people did not rush to the banks to sell their savings in Turkish lira and exchange them to American dollar; instead, the Turkish citizens exchanged their dollars into Turkish liras. Furthermore, there was no form of turbulence or disturbance in the streets, as expected by the US and the countries in its orbit, and instead everyone went about their everyday lives peacefully. There is no doubt that President Erdogan’s strong position, his tact in dealing with the US, as well as the strong language he uses in his speeches, have had an effect on people’s behaviour. He, and the state officials, also confirmed that the country was being attacked economically and reassured the public that Turkey would emerge victorious, and this played a major role in absorbing the initial shock.

Turkey has no choice but to persevere and triumph in this battle because the other options mean surrender, abandonment of sovereignty and return to dependency and American domination. However, this will never happen, because the wheel of time does not turn backward, and because the Turkish people have proven their worth and their awareness, maturity, and pride in their patriotism and leadership. Perhaps the most evident proof of this is the image of them burning the US dollar in front of the television cameras as a strong message to the owner of this dollar. Turkey will win as it won in all its previous battles because God is with it, as President Erdogan said, “Don’t forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God.”

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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