This handout photograph taken and released by the Turkish Presidential Press Service on August 3, 2018, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) as he delivers a speech during the'new goverment's 100 days action plan' meeting in Ankara. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / HO /
Agence France-Presse

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused the United States of seeking to stab Turkey “in the back” over a diplomatic row sparked by the detention of an American pastor that has sent the lira into a tailspin.

“You act on one side as a strategic partner but on the other you fire bullets into the foot of your strategic partner,” Erdogan told a conference in the capital Ankara.

“We are together in NATO and then you seek to stab your strategic partner in the back. Can such a thing be accepted?” Erdogan asked.

Turkey and the United States, two NATO allies, have been locked in bitter disputes over a string of issues from a pastor’s detention on terror charges to the war in Syria.

The dispute has severely hit the Turkish currency which has been in the free fall since Friday.

Erdogan said Turkey was facing an “economic siege”, slamming the currency movements as an “attack against our country.”

US President Donald Trump said Friday he had doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey.

But Erdogan advised Turks not to worry.

“It is not at all like we sank and we are finished. The dynamics of the Turkish economy are solid, strong and sound and will continue to be so.”

Erdogan also blasted the “economic terror” on social media, vowing that the judiciary had taken necessary measures to punish so-called speculators.

The Interior Ministry launched an investigation into 346 social media accounts on grounds of “provocative sharings on social media”, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

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