The Turkish lira slid 2.43%, its largest drop in seven months, and the main stock market index fell 4%, wiping $7.8bn (£3.9bn) from share values, yesterday as economists recommended 'a defensive strategy to Turkish assets'. Daily Telegraph. Financial Times

Turkey’s prime minister appealed for calm and national unity last night amid a political crisis sparked by the country’s most serious clash between the military and an elected government for a decade. Calls for an early general election grew after the military threatened to block the selection of a new president.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the premier, said in a televised address on Saturday that any threat to Turkey’s economic and political stability must be rejected: 'Unity, togetherness, solidarity – these are the things we need.'

His address came hours after the military issued what is seen as an ultimatum to the Islamist-rooted government to drop Abdullah Gul, foreign minister, as its presidential candidate.

Turkey has attracted record foreign investment in the past two years and British companies there were keeping a close eye on developments. HSBC made $217m profit in Turkey last year and employs 5,300 staff. A spokesman said the bank planned to grow its branch network 'significantly' from 192 over the next two years and the strategy had not changed, despite the army's warning on Sunday that it would "take action" if Turkey's secularism were threatened by elections.

Tesco has 4,500 staff at 20 stores.