Mustafa Destici, chairman of the Turkish government’s ultranationalist ally the Grand Unity Party (BBP), has said people who are pleased with the Turkish lira’s fall against the US dollar and who are promoting a loss of faith in the lira among the public should be stripped of their Turkish citizenship, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday.
Linking the currency fall to a coup attempt in 2016, Destici said, “They are trying to achieve what they couldn’t with weapons by means of the dollar and economic manipulation.”
“People who are happy about the economic sanctions applied by the US, who applaud the economic manipulation, who can’t accept the growth, power, and independence of Turkey should be identified and put before of the public,” Destici stated.
Arguing that revocation of citizenship is necessary for those people, he added, “They can go live in the countries they serve since they are tools of those countries.”
Destici’s suggestion came after a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the business community on Sunday, saying businessmen who buy US dollars should understand that they will face “plans B and C,” without elaborating on the plans.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday said it was taking necessary legal measures on social media posts regarding the dollar exchange rate that create a negative perception of the economy.
The statement said 346 social media accounts that posted comments about the weakening of the lira “in a provocative way” have been identified since Aug. 7 and that legal action has been initiated.
The lira has been in free fall, losing more than 40 percent of its value this year against the dollar, with a political crisis between Turkey and the US leading to economic sanctions.
Bahçeli: If Gülen extradited, Brunson may follow
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of another ultranationalist party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said on Wednesday that if Washington extradites US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen to Turkey, a handover of US pastor Andrew Brunson may also be possible.
“If the traitor in Pennsylvania is extradited to our country, the handover of the pastor may be in the offing, and both countries will get what they want,” Bahçeli told reporters in Ankara, referring to Gülen.
Bahçeli added that the conspiracy trying to force Turkey’s surrender to a speculative attack on currency rates will be defeated, voicing support for the decision to boycott US technology products and other imports.
He parroted the rhetoric of the Turkish government and said Turkey is not in an economic crisis, but under attack, with “hostility at the highest level.”
“With the measures taken and the newly announced economic approach, the dark clouds on the horizon will dissipate. We have full faith,” he added.
Turks ask God to depress the value of US dollar
Meanwhile, a group of Turks in the southern province of Mersin prayed for a halt in the rise in the value of the US dollar, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
People living in a village of Mersin’s Silifke district gathered on Wednesday to say a prayer against the rise of the dollar. They asked God to destroy Turkey’s enemies and to decrease the value of the dollar against the Turkish lira.
Ersin Akdoğan, a participant of the prayer meeting, said that “We used to hold prayers for rain. Today we prayed against the dollar. God willing, the Republic of Turkey will win this economic war. This is a war of independence.”
Turkish President Erdoğan on Aug. 10 tried to calm the Turkish people over the historic loss in value of the Turkish lira against the US dollar. “If they have their dollars, we have our people, our Allah [God],” he said.
Many Erdoğan supporters were seen on social media either exchanging their dollars for Turkish lira or burning them. Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak on Tuesday said the dollar has lost its reliability as it has the potential to inflict a shock on the global economy, especially on Europe.
Çavuşoğlu: World looking to move away from dollar after US-Turkey row
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed on Wednesday the world has witnessed the disrespect of the US administration and is starting to consider moving away from the US dollar after what happened between the US and Turkey, the T24 news website reported on Wednesday.
“Everybody has observed the US administration’s disrespectful attitude towards other countries since it took office, and they were well aware that the US could use its economic power against any country, and now they have witnessed it again,” Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with his Sudanese counterpart, Al-Dirdiri Muhammed Ahmed.
Çavuşoğlu also alleged that Turkey has always used its power for the benefit of its allies and all humanity. “We will continue our efforts to solve all existing problems through diplomacy. But we won’t submit to pressure,” he added.
Regarding American pastor Brunson, Çavuşoğlu told the press that countries should not only consider their own disappointment, claiming the US has been trying to protect Gülen movement followers in several countries that were willing to extradite them to Turkey.
Kalın: Turkey ‘deeply disappointed’ by US stance on pastor Brunson
President Erdoğan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Wednesday expressed Turkey’s “deep disappointment” over the US stance on the detention of pastor Brunson.
“If we are to mention any disappointment, we can say that Turkey is experiencing a deep disappointment in terms of its national interests,” Kalın told reporters at a weekly press briefing at the presidential complex in Ankara. “It is our expectation that the problems be solved as soon as possible. The US administration must be respectful toward the judicial processes in Turkey,” Kalın said.
His remarks came after the White House press secretary expressed Washington’s “frustration” regarding the Brunson case. Sarah Sanders said, “Certainly the president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released, as well as the fact that other US citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released. And we’re going to continue to call on Turkey to do the right thing and release those individuals.”
Criticizing the US administration, Kalın said, “As they are taking relations with Turkey to a breaking point for one pastor, we have yet to see either the Obama or the Trump administration take any concrete steps towards Turkey’s rightful and urgent national security matters.”
On Trump’s recent signing of a $716 billion defense spending bill which includes an amendment prohibiting delivery to Turkey of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Kalın said: “Turkey is not a country that is only a buyer of F-35 jets. It is a partner in the project. Until now, it [Turkey] has made the necessary payments.”
He dismissed the possibility that Turkey would back off from the project and added, “Everyone should know that no progress can be made by making such threats, blackmailing and sanctions against Turkey.”
Regarding recent developments in Turkey’s economy, Kalın said, “Turkey isn’t in favor of an economic war, but staying silent when attacked is out of the question,” adding: “Right now, Turkey is about to turn this crisis into an opportunity. Steps that are taken in this direction are already giving signals that this crisis will turn into an opportunity.”
A Turkish court ruled to put Brunson under house arrest after almost two years of incarceration on “terrorism” charges despite US demands for his release.
The Turkish government started a global manhunt against the Gülen movement, accusing the movement of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, although the movement strongly denies it. (SCF with turkishminute.com)