Erdogan invokes patriotism, Islam as lira remains under pressure

FILE PHOTO - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara

FILE PHOTO – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Source: Reuters

BY Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan appealed to Turks’ religious and patriotic feelings ahead of a major Muslim holiday on Monday, promising they would not be brought “to their knees” by an economic crisis that has battered the lira currency.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 has tumbled some 40 percent this year, hit by worries about Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and a worsening diplomatic rift with the United States. The sell-off has spread to other emerging market currencies and global stocks in recent weeks.

Highlighting the increased tensions, the U.S. embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara came under brief gunfire early on Monday by unknown assailants in an attack condemned by Erdogan’s spokesman as a bid “to create chaos”. Nobody was hurt. A person was later detained, Anadolu news agency said.

In a pre-recorded address to mark the four-day Eid al-Adha festival, which starts on Tuesday, Erdogan, a pious Muslim, sounded a characteristically defiant note as he lashed out at those selling the lira.

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