Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)At the Ayaklı borsa -- or standing currency exchange in old Istanbul -- seasoned traders still ply their trade on their feet as they have for centuries. They say they have not seen such volatility since 2001, when Turkey faced its last major currency crisis.
Real Turks feel the squeeze after Trump's tweets and tariffs
Those at Ayaklı borsa described August 11 as "Black Friday," after a tweet by US President Donald Trump triggered a new round of tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel, which sent the Turkish lira reeling. From their vantage point at the standing exchange, the lira's battle is far from over.
"As long as the tension with America continues to be high and Turkey has limited cash reserves, the dollar is open to rise," veteran currency trader Adnan Kapikaya told CNN in the midst of the noisy calls to place orders.
Kapikaya is referring to the high-profile spat between Trump and Turkey's long-serving leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The lira has been caught in the crossfire.
Trump has turned up the heat seeking the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held in Turkey on espionage charges since 2016.
With the pressure he has put on Turkey, President Trump has placed that country in the pole position for what is a nasty rush out of emerging-market currencies and into the dollar as the US Federal Reserve winds down nearly a decade of historically low interest rates.
Over breakfast in a café in central Istanbul, bank employee Mehtap Gunal said the near 40% decline in the lira has been difficult to digest as prices for basic foodstuffs continue to rise.
"This has a shock impact on us. We feel it in our kitchens, cafés and on our salaries," said Gunal. "To see our salary losing its value is scary."
With a good instinct for the mood on the street, Turkey's scrappy President has tried to counterpunch each of Trump's moves. One day he threatened a boycott of US electronics; the next, he doubled tariffs on a long list of American goods -- from cars to cosmetics.
He also moved into higher gear to shield Turks from the Trump offensive by announcing emergency measures to limit Turkish companies from swapping liras for dollars. Erdogan also went out of his way to send a message to Washington that Turkey has friends.