Turkish President Recep Erdogan continued his underhanded criticism of U.S. foreign policy during the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, likening financial sanctions — which America has placed on Turkish officials — to weapons.
Without directly naming the U.S., Erdogan told the assembly, "None of us can remain silent to the arbitrary cancellation of commercial agreements and the use of economic sanctions as weapons."
He was referring to Washington's asset freezes on two Turkish ministers in response to Ankara's continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson on spying charges, which Brunson denies.
"Nobody wants the world to experience a new economic rupture," Erdogan said. "It is very easy to create chaos but it's difficult to re-establish order, and today some countries are persistently trying to create chaos."
U.S.-Turkish relations are at a low following the diplomatic crisis, which has yet to be resolved despite multiple high-level meetings. Recent appeal hearings for Brunson have failed to clear his charges, and Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkish courts, and not politicians, would decide the pastor's fate.
August saw Donald Trump's administration announce a doubling of the steel and aluminum tariffs already in place against Ankara. Turkey responded in kind, placing tariffs on American cars, tobacco and alcohol. Erdogan called the U.S. penalties a "stab in the back."