Erdogan to boycott iPhones as Turkey’s feud with USA escalates

Devin Lawrence
August 14, 2018

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses Turkish Ambassadors during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Aug 13, 2018.

"There is a cost for those who are plotting the operation" against Turkey, Erdogan said in the first of two speeches in Ankara, without specifying when the boycott would start or how it would be enforced. They have iPhones, but on the other hand there are Samsungs. US President Donald Trump said Friday he will authorise higher tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

Additionally, the lira is facing ongoing pressure with geopolitical tensions between the US and Turkey heightening after negotiations over the detention of a USA pastor in Turkey took more steps backward than forward.

"We will boycott USA electronic products", Erdogan said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that the top US diplomat in Turkey would visit Brunson later Tuesday.

Turkish Airlines also announced on Twitter that it would join a campaign circulating on social media with a hashtag #ABDyeReklamVerme (don't give ads to America).

It did not provide information on the accounts but said they aimed to "manipulate the dollar rate and form negative perceptions" concerning the Turkish economy. "Necessary instructions on the issue have been issued to our agencies", Yahya Ustun, spokesman for the country's flag-carrier, wrote on Twitter.

Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency.

Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon, said the central bank's measures are unlikely to be enough.

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"What you want to see is tight monetary policy, a tight fiscal policy and a recognition that there might be some short-term economic pain - but without it there's just no credibility of promises to restabilize things", said Craig Botham, Emerging Markets Economist at Schroders.

Even with the rebound, the lira has plunged 25 percent this month as tension with the USA over a jailed American pastor deepened and Erdogan ruled out higher rates and an global bailout.

Erdogan admitted the Turkish economy had problems - including a widening current account deficit and inflation of nearly 16 percent but added: "Thanks to God, our economy is functioning like clockwork".

Turkey's situation is among the most precarious among emerging markets because so much of its growth was fueled with debt in foreign currencies.

The Turkish Lira resumed its drop early Monday touching a new record low of 7.21 per dollar before recovering slightly during Asia trade. But world stock traders were dismayed the bank did not raise interest rates, which is what many economists believe is necessary to ease the crisis.

Brunson's lawyer Cem Halavurt confirmed to AFP that he appealed for the release of his client once again on Tuesday, saying that: "The court should deliver its ruling in the next three days". Brunson and his supporters have firmly denied the charges.

Hovenier said Washington expected the release of detained American citizens including Brunson "without delay" and "in a fair and transparent manner".

Turkey's foreign minister says the United States won't achieve aims by exerting pressure and imposing sanctions on Turkey.

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