Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Erdogan says Turkey to 'boycott' United States electronic goods

Erdogan says Turkey to 'boycott' United States electronic goods

Addressing a conference of his ruling party faithful in the capital, Recep Tayyip Erdogan added fuel to the spat with the U.S., even as local business groups called on his government to settle it.

Turkey has also been publicly critical of criminal prosecutions in the USA involving state-run Halkbank official Mehmet Hakan Atilla, as well as Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader. "We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together", he told members of his AK Party in a speech. Showing no signs of backing down in the standoff, Erdogan suggested that Turkey would stop procuring US-made iPhones and buy Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel instead.

Ankara retaliated on Wednesday by doubling tariffs on some US imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco.

Relations between the two nations have continued to worsen in recent days, with Trump's top national security advisor John Bolton meeting with Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic Monday.

That helped ease tensions in financial markets, with the Turkish lira stabilizing somewhat near record lows.

In his televised speech yesterday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey will "boycott USA electronic goods". "We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together".

"If we postpone our investments, if we convert our currency to foreign exchange because there's danger, then we will have given in to the enemy", he said. His case now lies at the heart of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States that has sent Turkish lira into free-fall.

The Turkish lira started slipping again after rebounding more than 8 percent overnight.

Turkey and the USA are now experiencing rocky relations following Washington's imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing Brunson. It was not clear when the court would consider the appeal.

Although he was released to home detention, Brunson faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years if he is convicted on both counts at the end of his ongoing trial.

Another analyst cited by CNBC, Dennis Gartman, found it "dismaying" that the United States has "chosen to kick Turkey while the latter is down and suffering a severe bout of economic pain".

The lira has lost more than two-fifths of its value against the greenback this year, hit by worries over President Tayyip Erdogan's calls for lower interest rates and fraying ties between the United States and Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

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.

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