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Turkey's Erdogan orders ministers to stop using US firm McKinsey

Move comes after deal with US consulting firm was criticised by main opposition for coming at a time of strained ties between the two nations
Washington has imposed tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminium over Ankara's refusal to release a US pastor (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered his ministers to stop receiving consulting services from US firm McKinsey, after a recent deal between it and the Turkish government came under fire from the main opposition.

Last month, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdogan's son-in-law, said Turkey had decided to work with McKinsey to help implement a new medium-term economic programme.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), this week accused Erdogan of siding with US firms at a time when relations with Washington have been hit by the detention of an American pastor in Turkey and other issues.

"This person [Kilicdaroglu] is trying to corner us by asking questions about a consultancy firm that has been paid in full to help our economic management," Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party on Saturday.

"In order to not give him that chance ... I told all my ministers to no longer receive consultancy from them [McKinsey]," he said.

McKinsey was not immediately available for comment, the Reuters news agency reported.

Andrew Brunson, a missionary working in Turkey for more than 20 years, was arrested in December 2016, accused of backing the coup attempt that July against Erdogan.

The US has imposed tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminium over Ankara's refusal to release the pastor.

Brunson's lawyer petitioned Turkey's highest court on Wednesday seeking his release from house arrest.

The move comes ahead of a 12 October hearing in the case, amid growing expectations he may be allowed to return home.

'Economic war'

The row with the US has exacerbated pressures on Turkey's lira, which has plunged more than 40 percent this year over concerns about Erdogan's influence on monetary policy, relations with Washington and the central bank's ability to reign in double-digit inflation.

Erdogan has cast the devaluation in the lira as an "economic war" against Turkey by foreign powers, and has warned of action against those believed to be speculating on the economy or taking advantage of fluctuating exchange rates.

"Despite being subject to one of the biggest economic attacks in history, we managed to largely pick things up within two months," Erdogan said on Saturday.

Turkey was open to investment and support, as long as any deals did not impinge on its sovereignty, Erdogan said.

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