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Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak speaks during a presentation to announce his economic policy in Istanbul, on August 10, 2018. Photo: Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images

The lira dropped to an all-time low Friday as geopolitical tensions between NATO allies Turkey and the United States continued to escalate.

The big picture: President Trump announced via tweet that the U.S. would be raising tariffs on Turkey to 50% on steel and 20% on aluminum. Per CNBC, the tweet and the subsequent currency sell-off came after a Turkish delegation returned from the U.S. having made no progress in talks about pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detention prompted the White House to slap sanctions on high-ranking Turkish officials last week.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Turkish citizens to exchange American dollars and gold into lira in a speech Friday, declaring a need to fight back against those who have "waged an economic war" against his people, per Reuters.
  • Erdoğan also said he held a phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose country has also been hit by U.S. sanctions, to "discuss economic ties," reports the AP.
  • The Turkish economy was already in a fragile state prior to the escalation of tensions, largely because of the pressure Erdoğan has exerted on the central bank to lower interest rates.
“Don’t forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God. "
— Turkish President Erdoğan

Worth your time: U.S.-Turkey Relations Will Never Be the Same

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.