September 19, 2018 / 6:32 PM / 7 months ago

Turkey, U.S. relations will strengthen with investment and trade: Erdogan speech text

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a ceremony to mark Veterans' Day at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, September 19, 2018. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Relations between Washington and Ankara will strengthen with investment and trade, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday in speech to representatives from U.S. companies, according to the text of his speech.

The two countries are at odds over issues including Washington’s policy in Syria, Ankara’s quest for the extradition of a Muslim cleric blamed for failed coup in 2016 and Washington’s concerns about U.S. citizens and embassy staff detained in Turkey.

The arrest and detention of Andrew Brunson, a U.S. Christian pastor who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, deepened the rift and prompted President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey and double trade tariffs, exacerbating a slide in Turkey’s lira currency.

In retaliation, Turkey doubled tariffs on some U.S. imports including alcohol, cars and tobacco.

“I believe our strategic partnership with the United States will strengthen further with investment and trade despite all the ups and downs,” Erdogan said, according to the text seen by Reuters.

The event for U.S. businesses operating in Turkey was closed to the media and it was not possible to confirm whether the speech was delivered as written.

Erdogan said Turkey would continue to take every step so that businesses will not be harmed by the trade measures and would not compromise on free market principles, according to the text.

“We encouraged the business world to cooperate further while we are seeking ways to solve our problems via diplomacy with our counterparts,” Erdogan said.

“We would never want you to be negatively impacted or your projects to be obstructed due to the issues we are having with the current American government. We will continue to take necessary steps,” Erdogan said.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Alison Williams

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