Turkey to boycott USA electronics, including iPhone

Turkey Financial Crisis: Stocks at Record Low as Lira Plunges Again

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott U.S. electronic goods like the iPhone in retaliation for punitive sanctions from Washington, as the Turkish lira finally clawed back some ground after going into a tailspin over the tensions.

His remarks came after the lira's plunge had turned into a rout toward the end of last week after US President Donald Trump announced the doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports. It rebounded on Tuesday as Turks sold dollars.

The Middle East's largest economy has been targeted by the US just like other nations around the world, including Canada, Erdogan said. "If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung".

Erdogan's call for a boycott of United States products comes after the Trump administration increased metals tariffs on Turkey as part of a campaign to pressure Ankara to release the USA citizen, pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces charges of terrorism.

Erdogan's boycott is reminiscent of the decision by President Vladimir Putin to ban food imports from countries that slapped sanctions on Russian Federation in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea. Erdogan claims that his stance against USA imports is necessary due to the recent collapse in Turkish assets.

On Tuesday the lira recovered some ground, trading at 6.53 to the dollar at 0918 GMT, up around five percent on the day. The cost of insuring the nation's debt against default fell off 10-year highs.

The Turkish currency nosedived in value over concerns about Erdogan's economic policies and after the United States slapped sanctions on Turkey angered by the continued detention of an American pastor.

Brunson was arrested during Erdogan's broad crackdown on political opposition after an attempted coup in July 2016.

Even though a meeting between National Security Adviser John Bolton and Turkey's US ambassador on Monday yielded no public progress, the White House is now leading the talks with Turkey over Brunson's release and a host of other issues that have dragged down the alliance.

While the economic penalties would probably do little to dent USA economic interests, Erdogan's threat shows that the standoff over the fate of an American pastor held in Turkey isn't going to end soon.

The top USA diplomat in Turkey, Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier, visited Brunson and his wife, Norine, Tuesday, calling on Turkey to resolve his case "without delay and in a fair and transparent manner".

Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit, Spain's BBVA and France's BNP Paribas all have substantial interests in Turkish banks.

The Turkish envoy conveyed the message the pressure and threats would only lead to a "chaos" in relations which could only improve after Washington abandons the language of "threats", said Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. "This is in our interest", Merkel said at the chancellery in Berlin. Instead of taking drastic action to shore up confidence, such as raising interest rates or going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government is couching itself in nationalistic rhetoric of sacrifice. Is there need for that?

In a televised speech on Friday, he called on Turkish citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira, calling it an "economic war".

This has to be of real concern since to date, the Turkish lira has depreciated by well over 40 percent.

"We will identify companies affected by rising foreign currencies and we will continue to put them at ease", he added.

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