Erdoğan says Turkey will boycott US electronic products
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey will boycott electronic products from the US, as he issued another defiant response to the US sanctions imposed in a dispute over the detention of an American evangelical pastor.
The US measures have accelerated a currency crisis in Turkey, though the lira rallied slightly on Tuesday, from a low of 7 against the dollar on Monday night to about 6.5 at noon (1000 BST) in Istanbul.
“We will boycott US electronic products,” the Turkish president said. “If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung. In our country there is Venus, Vestel [the Turkish smartphone brands].”
Erdoğan also railed against what he called a larger and deeper operation against Turkey. “They do not refrain from using the economy as a weapon against us, as they tried in the areas of diplomacy, military, or efforts for social and political instability,” he said.
Meanwhile, the American pastor Andrew Brunson, whose continued detention over espionage allegations provoked the latest crisis, said through his lawyer that he was appealing against his house arrest and travel ban.
Brunson was detained in October 2016, three months after a failed coup attempt against the Turkish president, widely believed in Turkey to have been led by the exiled leader of the Gülen political movement, Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in the US state of Pennsylvania for the past two decades.
Turkey’s central bank took measures on Monday to improve liquidity but they were seen as insufficient to stem the currency slide. Erdoğan said he believed the lira would soon stabilise at a reasonable rate, but investors believe the structural problems at the root of the crisis have not been resolved.
Erdoğan’s defiance indicated that he had little appetite to resolve the diplomatic spat with the US. He has said the judiciary will rule independently on the case, and any move to release Brunson could be seen domestically as caving in to Washington.
Instead he has portrayed his country as under assault by external forces and as having been betrayed by a Nato ally. Late on Monday, Donald Trump signed a defence bill that would block Ankara’s access to the stealth F-35 fighter jet, which Turkey has helped build.
The US Congress published the text of a bipartisan bill on Tuesday that among other things includes restrictions on investment in new Russian sovereign debt and bans several state-run Russian banks from operating in the US.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Tuesday that US sanctions against Ankara and Moscow were an illegitimate policy and a way for the US to obtain an unfair competitive advantage in global trade. Lavrov was speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in Ankara.