Erdogan Vows to Boycott U.S. Electronic Goods Amid Pastor Spat

15 August, 2018, 12:15 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia pose before their meeting in Ankara earlier this year. Tolga Bozoglu  pool via Reuters

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has accused the United States of bullying behavior and economic sabotage, vowed on Tuesday to boycott USA -made electronic goods, including Apple's signature iPhone.

The United States is warning more economic pressures may be in store for Turkey if it refuses to release a jailed American pastor, a White House official said on Tuesday, in a dispute that has further strained relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The latest moves follow President Erdogan's announcement that Turkey will boycott American electronic goods. "If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung".

Erdogan has said Turkey needs to find "new friends" because of the row with the its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. If sustained that depreciation would take Turkey's external debt to around 100 percent of GDP.

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

Brunson was arrested in October 2016 during a nation-wide purge of suspected dissidents following the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016.

Some joked bitterly on social media that the plunge of the lira would make Apple products unaffordable for Turks in any case.

Last month, US President Donald Trump threatened to "impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment" of the evangelical Christian pastor, calling for Brunson's immediate release.

Erdogan said Turkey was facing an economic attack and a "bigger, deeper operation" to hurt the domestic economy as he showed no sign of making concessions to the United States.

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He said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan had also discussed using national currencies in trade. "What do you want to do?"

It's unclear what the US trying to achieve by targeting an ally with whom it worked together in places including Somalia, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

However, severe changes in the value of the currency calmed Tuesday after news that US national security adviser John Bolton had met with the Turkish ambassador to Washington Monday.

The lira was at 6.49 to the dollar, a gain of 4.5 percent on the day and 7.50 to the euro, well off the record lows of 7.24 to the dollar and 8.12 to the euro seen Monday.

The lira has lost about a fifth of its value against the greenback since Friday. There are certain emerging market countries with relatively weak currencies and a heavy reliance on external (predominately dollar-based) financing.

Turkey, one of NATO's most significant military powers, has provided Washington with logistical support for its military actions in the Middle East for years.

Markets were also somewhat soothed by Turkey's central bank loosening cash buffer requirements for the country's banks and its finance minister setting up a call with investors.

These import taxes came on top of 10% additional tariffs on aluminum and 25% on steel from all countries, in a bid by Trump to protect the United States steel industry and please voters in America's industrial heartland.

On Tuesday, a White House official quoted by the Reuters news agency hinted at further economic measures against Turkey if Brunson was not released.

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