As the U.S. and Turkey squabble over issues such as American pastors, F-35 deliveries, and the finer points of the Syrian civil war, the Turkish lira has gone from steady decline to precipitous fall. It has declined roughly 40 percent since the beginning of the year and roughly 14 percent since the beginning of the day. Many have blamed this financial calamity on the Trump administration. After all, it has placed sanctions on a few Turkish officials, it has threatened to remove Turkey from a program that allows it to export some products to the U.S. duty-free, and just today, it announced it would double steel and aluminum tariffs.
The U.S. is often a strawman for the poor performances of struggling economies. And to be sure, the measures Washington has imposed are not good for the Turkish economy. But Turkey’s economic problems are structural, and the lira has been declining since the beginning of the year. Washington’s moves against Turkey are punitive, but they aren’t the c