Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded to the diplomatic spat engulfing Turkey-U.S. relations by pledging a national boycott of U.S.-made electronic goods.
As Breitbart News reported, Turkey faces “the very real risk of U.S. sanctions” if it does not free American pastor Andrew Brunson, arrested on dubious charges of aiding Marxist and Islamist terrorist groups.
Mr. Erdogan suggested that Turkey would stop buying U.S.-made iPhones and instead look to Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel if the boycott goes ahead. The threat comes during a Turkish currency crisis that has seen the lira’s value collapse against the U.S. dollar.
AP reports he said: “If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere. We have Vestel.” It was unclear how Erdogan intended to enforce the boycott.
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).
“We, as the Turkish Airlines, stand by our state and our people. Necessary instructions on the issue have been issued to our agencies,” Yahya Ustun, spokesman for the country’s flag-carrier, wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Erdogan said Turkey was facing an “economic attack” and a “bigger, deeper operation”.
“They don’t hesitate to use the economy as a weapon,” he said. “What do you want to do? What do you want to achieve?” he added, referring to the US.
Turkey’s lira currency has been falling steadily for the last year because of a clearly stated view by Mr. Erdogan that interest rates are “evil,” and because he has been controlling Turkey’s central bank consistent with that belief.
The lira has already lost 40 percent of its value in the past month. On Friday, the currency fell another 20 percent, before settling at being down 14 percent from Thursday’s level.
Mr. Erdogan last week renewed a call for Turks to convert their dollars into the Turkish lira, to help underwite the currency’s value.
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