Erdogan, Macron vow to foster trade ties amid US dispute

Erdogan, Macron vow to foster trade ties amid US dispute
The two countries' finance ministers will meet "as soon as possible" to discuss economic and trade relations, as Turkey seeks to strengthen its European ties amid ongoing US spat.
2 min read
17 August, 2018
Erdogan is rallying European support as the US spat worsens [Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call on Thursday to foster trade ties, a Turkish presidential source said, after the lira's dramatic fall in the wake of escalating tensions with the US.

"Both leaders emphasised the importance of fostering economic and trade relations as well as mutual investments," the source said. 

They also agreed on a meeting between the two countries' finance ministers "as soon as possible".

The announcement comes as another act of defiance by the Turkish government which has had a very public fall-out with the US, sparking economic turmoil.

The diplomatic spat, originating over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, has grown into a full-blown crisis, leading to the lira diving against the dollar.

The Turkish currency showed a slight rebound on Thursday after losing over 16 percent of its value last Friday, following US President Donald Trump doubling aluminium and steel tariffs on Ankara.

Erdogan's fiercely loyal supporters joined in publicly venting their anger towards the US, posting videos of themselves burning, ripping up, and even blowing their noses with US dollar bills.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, was due to address hundreds of foreign investors through a tele-conference on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to reassure the markets.

"Turkey will emerge stronger from these (currency) fluctuations," Albayrak told investors, ruling out the possibility of an IMF bail-out.

Erdogan has remained defiant in the face of the crisis with Washington, saying Turkey could turn to new alternative markets.

His telephone call with Macron comes a day after he spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Albayrak on Thursday spoke with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz on the phone, where the two ministers agreed to "take steps in order to reinforce economic cooperation," Albayrak's office said in a statement.

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