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Turkey's Erdogan Calls On Turks To Dump Dollars, Euros

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on July 12, 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated calls for Turks to sell dollars and euros to support the national currency, which has dropped sharply in value due to concerns over the economy and deteriorating relations with the United States.

Speaking to supporters on August 11 in the northeastern Turkish town of Unye, Erdogan also said it was a pity the United States was choosing Andrew Brunson -- a U.S. pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges -- over its strategic NATO ally, Ankara.

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded the pastor's release, the most pressing of several disagreements between Washington and Ankara.

On August 10, Trump announced he had authorized the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey.

Brunson, who has been held since 2016, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of allegedly aiding Kurdish separatists and a group that Erdogan blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

The sanction and tariff threats have led to a near-collapse of the Turkish lira -- which tumbled 19 percent on August 10 alone -- and forced Ankara into cost-cutting steps to stabilize the economy.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters