Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday Ankara will boycott U.S. electronic products in retaliation for new sanctions levied over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson.
The boycott includes flagship U.S. products like Apple’s iPhone.
Erdogan said at a symposium Tuesday Turkey will boycott the electronics and impose its own sanctions, and urged citizens to instead produce and buy local products — like Turkish-made smartphones from Vestel Venus.
“If they have iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side. And we have our own telephone brands,” he said.
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“We are going to produce enough for ourselves. We have to serve better quality goods than we are importing from them.”
Apple’s new iPhoneX, due to the exchange rate with the Turkish lira, costs around $1,143.
The call for a boycott comes amid an escalating feud between Erdogan and the United States, with the Turkish leader saying the new U.S. sanctions are a “stab in back”. The two countries are NATO allies.
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The Trump administration has been critical of Brunson’s arrest and Ankara’s refusal to extradite him. The preacher has been detained for nearly two years, accused of spying and participating in a failed 2016 military coup against the Turkish government.
Economic analysts say the U.S. conflict has exacerbated Turkey’s financial crisis, but isn’t the root cause. Erdogan’s refusal to raise interest rates to curb inflation, they say, has been a larger factor.
“Unfortunately, I think Erdogan is the extreme example of a policy-maker who is totally deluded,” Aly-Khan Satchu, CEO of Rich Management, said. “It’s a losing battle. He is going to have to raise interest rates to bring the situation under control.
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“He’s making it much worse.”
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said the “illegitimate” sanctions are designed for the United States to gain an unfair competitive advantage in global trade.