Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke by phone with Vladimir Putin to discuss “trade and economic cooperation,” the Kremlin said Friday, as the Turkish lira tumbled and Donald Trump said he would ramp up tarriffs against Ankara.
The statement will fuel speculation that Erdoğan is moving closer to Russia as relations worsen between Turkey and the United States, even though both countries are NATO members.
“A telephone conversation took place between Vladimir Putin and the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” the Kremlin statement said. “The state and prospects of further development of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation between the two countries were discussed.”
The two made a “positive assessment”, the statement added, “of the course of implementation of joint strategic projects, primarily in the energy sector.”
Relations between Ankara and Washington have been tense since the detention in Turkey of U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges. The incident led the U.S. to apply sanctions on two of Erdogan’s ministers and threaten Turkey with restrictions on trade.
Earlier on Friday, the Turkish lira collapsed to a record low against the dollar, prompting Erdoğan to denounce an “economic war” against his country. Erdoğan also called on citizens to sell their savings in euros and dollars and buy lira.