Turkey to boycott United States electronics, including iPhone

Mae Love
August 15, 2018

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country of 81 million people will boycott American consumer electronics, including Apple's iPhone.

Analysts say the crisis has been a long time coming and reflects Turkey's refusal to raise interest rates to curb double-digit inflation and cool an overheated economy.

"We will boycott USA electronic products", Erdogan said. "We will protect our Turkish Lira", Albayrak said at a symposium in Ankara marking the anniversary of the ruling party's foundation on August 14.

Shares in Vestel jumped seven per cent on the Istanbul stock exchange after Erdogan's remarks.

"The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released as well as the fact that other United States citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a briefing.

Turkey will soon be "selling high tech and design products to the world", Erdogan insisted during his speech.

He also made his now famous speech on the night of the July 2016 failed coup calling citizens out into the street through Facetime, an iPhone app.

There was a clear, sharp drop in the lira's value on Friday after Trump tweeted he was doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, citing a national security threat, and a smaller decline when the US sanctioned Turkey's Interior and Justice Ministers on August 1. "Necessary instructions on the issue have been issued to our agencies", Yahya Ustun, spokesman for the country's flag-carrier, wrote on Twitter. "Whatever we pay for from overseas, we will do here", he said.

"They don't hesitate to use the economy as a weapon", the president commented, referring to the US.

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"The progress that we want to be made is to have Pastor Brunson return home, and I'll leave it at that", US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on August 9.

Independent economists caution it would be hard to unseat the dollar as the top reserve currency as it is used widely in the global economy, for example to trade in oil and for commercial deals.

The lira perked up on Tuesday after Turkey's central bank unveiled measures to boost liquidity.

The crisis in the lira, which has lost 45 percent of its value against the dollar so far this year, increases the cost of corporate debt, which stands at more than $220bn, much of it in the construction industry. That opinion is not shared by global financial analysts, who worry Turkey's economy is so weak and dependent on foreign money that American tariffs could trigger a collapse that drags European markets down.

For now, most emerging market investors think Turkey's problems are largely its own.

Synnex Technology (聯強), Acer (宏碁), and Asus (華碩) all reportedly have productions facilities in Turkey, and will certainly be impacted by the trade spat and the crash of the lira. Charged with espionage and aiding Kurdish militants and a US -based Turkish cleric accused of fomenting that coup attempt, Brunson was imprisoned for almost two years and moved to house arrest last month.

Brunson filed a new petition for release on Tuesday, asking a Turkish court to "prevent unlawful political interventions by lifting judicial control provisions on the defendant".

USA embassy charge d'affaires Jeffrey Hovenier on Tuesday visited Brunson in the western city of Izmir.

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