12:59 GMT04 April 2020
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    Turkey is taking the necessary measures in response to a slide in the lira (Turkey’s currency) and is beginning to see actual results from these steps Erdogan said in a speech at a military graduation ceremony.

    There’s no need to be a genius to see those behind the volatility in exchange rates, it is an operation against Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

    The Turkish government and central bank are taking steps to sustain the country’s currency, because the continuing diplomatic standoff with the US has damaged investor sentiment and encouraged capital outflows from the country.

    READ MORE: Turkish Finance Minister Downplays Economic Risks Amid Ongoing US Spat

    The US sanctions have the potential to create problems, including instability in the region, and those steps are being taken intentionally against Turkey for political reasons, according to the Turkish finance minister.

    In early August, US President Donald Trump introduced the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, up to 50 and 20 percent, respectively, which resulted in the Turkish lira falling to a historic new low. 

    Purchase of S-400s and F-35s

    Erdogan has reaffirmed Turkey's intention to purchase S-400s from Russia, despite US pressure.

    "When missiles from Syria fell on our territory, our citizens died and were injured, our [NATO] partners began to withdraw the missile defense systems deployed in Turkey. We need such systems, but they refused to sell them to us. And when we tried to solve this issue on our own, they put obstacles in our way. Turkey needs S-400s, we have made a decision on this agreement. I hope that we will receive these systems in the near future," Erdogan said.

    The Turkish president also stated that Ankara needs F-35 fighter jets and will move forward to get them from the United States, but would obtain jets elsewhere if Washington halts deliveries of the F-35s.

    "They are even attempting to stop the deliveries that have been paid for. We have already paid $900 million. They should supply 120 F-35 jets to us," Erdogan emphasized.

    READ MORE: F-35 Program Officials Covering Up Life-Threatening Flaws in Aircraft — Report

    Washington earlier noted that it was concerned about Ankara's planned deployment of the S-400s, as it could risk the security of some US-made weapons and other technology utilized by Turkey, including the F-35 jets.

    In June, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell said that Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems could result in the withholding of the F-35 jets. A loan agreement between Russia and Turkey regarding S-400s was signed in December 2017. On August 13, US President Donald Trump signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA). The act envisages barring the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara.

    In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement to supply S-400s to Ankara. According to a statement by the Turkish defense industry secretariat, two S-400 batteries will be operated and serviced by the Turkish military.


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