International News

Turkey will pursue non-dollar transactions in trade: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the United States for behaving like “wild wolves,” saying Ankara would pursue non-dollar transactions in trade with Russia and other countries.
“America behaves like wild wolves. Don’t believe them,” Erdogan said in an address to a business forum in Bishkek on Sunday during a visit to Kyrgyzstan.
He added that negotiations were underway between Turkey and Russia over using national currencies instead of the US dollar in bilateral trade ties.
The US has imposed punitive economic measures on both Ankara and Moscow.
“Using the dollar only damages us. We will not give up. We will be victorious,” Erdogan told the meeting, attended by Kyrgyz and Turkish businessmen as well as government officials.
Washington and Ankara are entangled in a dispute over an American pastor standing trial in Turkey over terror charges.
Pastor Andrew Brunson has been accused of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement, which Turkey blames for the 2016 failed military coup.
Brunson, who has already spent nearly two years behind bars in Turkey, has denied the charges, calling them “shameful and disgusting.”
If found guilty, he will face up to 35 years in jail. His imprisonment and then house arrest have caused one of the deepest rows between Turkey and the US.
Ties between NATO members Washington and Ankara hit a new low last month after the US took the dispute to the economic front, adopting a series of punitive measures against Turkey, including imposing sanctions on Turkish ministers and doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs, which have led to a sharp decline in Turkey’s currency, the lira.
On August 25, the Turkish president called on his nation to demonstrate “commitment and determination” as firm guarantees needed to combat “attacks” on Turkey’s economy.
“As we tackle attacks against the Turkish economy today, our biggest guarantee is the commitment and determination of every member of our people to take hold of their independence, nation, and future,” Erdogan said.
Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Monday that recent unilateral steps taken by the United States to wage an economic war against Ankara are politically-motivated and could serve to ultimately bolster regional terrorism and the refugee crisis.
“These steps taken with political motivation will not only impact the global financial system but also global trade and regional stability,” Albayrak said at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Paris.
The US is the world’s biggest steel importer, and Turkey is the sixth-largest steel exporter to the US.
In a tit-for-tat move, Ankara has increased tariffs on several US-origin products including alcohol, tobacco products and cars.
Erdogan accuses the White House of launching an economic war against Ankara, describing the move as a “coup” against the Turkish economy.
The United States also imposed new sanctions on Russia last month over Moscow’s alleged role in poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
The move has been deemed as an attempt to boost President Trump’s argument that he is “tough” on Russia as a special counsel investigation into his alleged collusion with the Kremlin peaks.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said Moscow is stepping up efforts to abandon US currency in its trade transactions with other countries amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two sides.
“The time has come when we need to go from words to actions and get rid of the dollar as a means of mutual settlements and look for other alternatives,” Ryabkov said in reaction to the latest US sanctions on Russia.