Former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu said the United States would soon be finished and that Turkey does not fear the power of the US dollar, according to a report by the Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday.
Turkey is embroiled in a diplomatic dispute with NATO ally the US over the imprisonment of several US citizens and a range of other issues. The row has contributed to the fall in the Turkish lira, already battered by worries over the independence of the central bank and the government’s unwillingness to push up interest rates to tackle inflation.
“States like people are born, grow and die. … Hey America, you have been born, have grown and your death is approaching,” Çavuşoğlu told a crowd at an Eid Al-Adha celebration. The evidence for this included the United States’s failed project to prop up Kurdish rebels in Syria as well as its failure to stop Turkey from buying air defense systems from Russia, Çavuşoğlu said.
“This nation does not fear the dollar, this nation did not fear tons of tanks or heaps of iron,” he said and added: “With God’s blessing we will overcome this. This increase in the dollar is completely artificial.”
AKP deputy: Pastor Brunson looted Iraq’s gold
Meanwhile, Mehmet Erdoğan, a deputy for the the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has claimed in a Twitter post that Andrew Brunson, a detained American pastor at the heart of a recent US-Turkish diplomatic feud, is, in fact, a former US Marine who was in charge of looting Iraqi gold during the 2003 US invasion.
“These images show the looting. How important this pastor must be to the United States – if he talks….” Erdoğan said in his tweet, accompanied by images purportedly showing US soldiers in Iraq with piles of gold bars.
One of the Marines, pictured holding a gold bar and with a badge bearing the name “Brown,” is the one identified by Erdoğan as Brunson. The images are accompanied by text in Arabic which speculates that, if Turkey obtains a confession from the US pastor for his activities in Iraq, the United States could be forced to return the gold.
It should not be difficult for Turkey to verify the claims that the pastor acted as the commander of US looting operations during the occupation of Iraq, which began in April 2003.
Brunson has, according to most reports, been a full-time resident of Turkey for 23 years, raised his family there and was well-known locally as an evangelical preacher in the western Turkish city of İzmir during that time.
AKP Deputy Chair Turan: US’s target is Erdoğan, not pastor Brunson
AKP Deputy Chairman Bülent Turan has said that the aim of US sanctions is not to free pastor Brunson but to attack Turkey and President Erdoğan. “There is only one reason for the increase in the exchange rates: to bring Turkey into line. They will not be able to,” Russian news site Sputnik quoted Turan as saying on Aug. 22.
“They want my brother Erdoğan, not the pastor. They will not be able to [get him]. As long as our people exist and defend Erdoğan, they will not be able to,” Turan continued.
Turan went on to cite recent drastic decreases in the value of the Turkish lira as proof of a dirty campaign against Turkey, which he said was performing well in “all other” economic criteria.
Brunson has been held in Turkey since October 2016 for alleged links to the Gülen movement and to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). US President Donald Trump has called the charges “phony” and demanded Brunson’s release.
Since then, sanctions and tariff hikes imposed by Trump’s administration have worsened economic problems in Turkey, leading President Erdoğan to accuse his NATO allies of conducting “economic warfare” on the country.