President Tayyip Erdogan has told Turks to sell their gold and US dollars to support the country's currency which plunged after US President Donald Trump escalated a feud with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey by doubling tariffs on metals imports.
"Turkish markets continue to spiral downwards with the lira now in a full blown currency crisis. i nvestor confidence in President Erdogan's regime has been waning for much of the past year but key cabinet changes made after the June 24th elections have been particularly damaging for sentiment".
Securing the release of Brunson, arrested in 2016, is a top priority for the United States, and it is also tussling with Turkey over the detention of three locally employed USA embassy staff, trade issues and differences over Syria.
He also condemned as "unacceptable, irrational and ultimately detrimental", the sanctions imposed by the United States on several Turkish cabinet members over the Brunson issue.
Turkey's embattled lira on Friday hit new record lows against the USA dollar and euro, losing over seven percent in value as strains with the United States showed no sign of abating and fears grew over the exposure of European banks.
He declared: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!". Financial upheaval there risks further destabilizing an already volatile region.
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Erdogan replied that Turkey will not back down despite Trump's sanctions policy and said he would answer with mirror retaliation. The president, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to bring down Turkey's economy, appealed to Turks' patriotism. He returned to his familiar refrain of urging Turks to use their reserves of dollars, euros and gold to buy up lire.
What's happening to Turkey's currency right now?"This is a national, domestic battle", he told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt.
The tensions with Washington have, for investors, underscored Turkey's authoritarian trajectory under Erdogan.
He added: "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging".
The United States placed sanctions on two Turkish officials earlier this month because of Brunson's case. Gulen denies the allegation. "Turkey has been trending towards authoritarianism & becoming more anti-American".
As the currency weakens, it can make foreign investors pull their money out of Turkish stocks and bonds as their lira investments lose value.
Presenting the government's new economic model, he said the next steps of rebalancing would entail lowering the current account deficit and improving trust.
The defiant tone and war rhetoric only hurt the lira more, before Erdogan's finance chief and son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, tried to ease investor concerns during a conference, saying the government would safeguard the independence of the central bank.