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Erdogan: Turkey will either 'live or die' in confronting foreign powers

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by AFP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will not surrender to economic terrorism of "foreign powers", vowing to confront “those who are plotting against our people”.

“Though challenges we face have reminded us that we should never give up on our ambition to build a big and strong Turkey,” Erdogan told a gathering of his ruling AK party in Ankara Sunday.

"We have seen once again that we will either live or die. There is no other way," he added. 

The Turkish economy, Erdogan said, has been under attack by foreign powers since the anti-government demonstrations in 2013.

"Economy and security will take priority in the upcoming period. Our economy has been a target in the past six years,” he said.

At least eight people were killed and thousands more injured in demonstrations which followed the announcement of a controversial plan to redevelop a park in central Istanbul back in 2013.  

Erdogan said an attempted coup in July 2016, which Ankara says was orchestrated by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, “was also a move to sabotage our economy."

"We believe these dark clouds will dissipate as we take necessary steps to relieve our citizens," Erdogan said.

Turkey has been the target of US sanctions since last summer, when Washington imposed heavy tariffs on imports from the country.

In January, President Donald Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacked US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria.

Last month, the lira lost nearly six percent of its value in a single day amid investor concerns over foreign reserves.

Besides Turkey, several other countries, including Iran, Syria and Venezuela, have said they are the target of US "economic terrorism."

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami has said the country reserves the right to fight America after the US said it won't renew sanctions waivers for oil purchases from Tehran. 

Previously, the US had issued waivers to its sanctions for eight major buyers of Iranian crude.

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President Bashar al-Assad said in March that some hostile powers were waging an economic war against Syria through “boycotts, withdrawal of ambassadors, economic siege, and the use of terrorism.”

On Friday, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Ja’afari slammed the United States and the European Union for waging “economic terrorism” by imposing sanctions against the war-wracked country.

"This is economic terrorism that is escalating through unilateral economic measures," Ja'afari told a press conference in Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan, previously known as Astana, on Friday.

Washington has imposed sanctions on hundreds of companies and individuals, whom it accuses of involvement in developing chemical munitions in Syria. 

The European Union has also slapped Syria with an oil embargo, placed restrictions on certain investments in the country, frozen the assets of the Syrian Central Bank across the bloc, and imposed bans on dozens of companies linked to the government.

The EU voted last May in favor of extending the bans until June 1, 2019.

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