Haass: Tariffs on Turkey Allow Erdogan to Blame US for Economic Woes

Haass: Tariffs on Turkey Allow Erdogan to Blame US for Economic Woes

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Turkey allow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to blame the United States for his country’s already failing economy rather than accepting his own government’s missteps, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Wednesday.

“It allows Erdogan to blame us, rather than [being] blamed for it by his own people,” Haass told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe “He was basically committing economic suicide by himself. I would have let him do it and not now give him the argument that somehow it’s the United States to blame.”

Erdogan made his own mistakes, including putting his son in charge of the country’s finance ministry and weakening the country’s central bank by not allowing it to raise interest rates, Haass said.

There is also the issue of economic “contagion” worldwide, said Haass.

“What’s happened, a lot of these countries essentially borrowed an awful lot of money and borrowed it in dollars,” he said. “Now that the dollar is strengthened against their own currency, their ability to pay back debt in many cases, not just Turkey, is suspect.”

Meanwhile, Congress is already backing efforts to squeeze Turkey, including on Monday with the passage of the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act, said Haass.

“There was a provision in it, essentially putting on hold the American transfer or sale of the F35 aircraft to Turkey,” said Haass. “The fact Congress stepped in here to me was a welcome sign they are still willing to at least accept some of their foreign policy responsibilities. I hope these aircraft never go to Turkey.”

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