Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Erdogan: Turkey can do without United States electronic goods

U.S. tariffs only the latest setback for a Turkish economy running on borrowed cash Turkey Financial Crisis: Stocks at Record Low as Lira Plunges Again
Cristina Norman | 15 August, 2018, 12:12

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned that his country would boycott electronic goods from the United States, after Washington imposed punitive sanctions on Ankara over the latter's refusal to extradite a jailed American pastor. Washington began to apply economic pressure on Ankara after the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

But in a televised speech on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't want to be reminded of that while announcing a move to shun U.S. electronic goods in the future.

"If [the US] has the iPhone, there's Samsung on the other side", Mr Erdogan said, referring to Apple and its South Korean competitor.

Erdogan, however, did not announce any government action towards a boycott. Without U.S. support, Turkey has no chance of securing an International Monetary Fund bailout program.

Hamdi Ates, corporate communications director at Turk Telekom, posted a similar message on Twitter.

Trump and Erdoğan hammered out a deal for the U.S. to get Israel to release a Turkish woman imprisoned for alleged links to Hamas, and for Turkey to release detained United States pastor Andrew Brunson - or so Trump thought, sources tell The Guardian.

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands. Turkey regards the Kurdish fighters as terrorists.

Turkish lira plunged on concerns over the deepening rift between Washington and Ankara, hitting a record low of 7.24 against USA dollar and weakening some 45 percent so far this year. The currency has now stabilised at around 6.50 lira against the dollar. Charged with espionage and aiding Kurdish militants and a USA -based Turkish cleric accused of fomenting that coup attempt, Brunson was imprisoned for almost two years and moved to house arrest last month.

However, other countries - such as Mexico and South Africa - also took advantage of low United States interest rates in the years after the financial crisis to borrow heavily in dollars and saw their currencies coming under pressure.

The dire state of Turkey's economy may be a outcome of a diplomatic misunderstanding between the country's president and Donald Trump.

The euro recovered on Tuesday from earlier losses linked to the collapse of the Turkish lira, but investors said the exposure of European banks to Turkey would continue to trouble the single currency.

The Turkish central bank has pledged to take "all necessary measures" to stabilize the country's economy to make sure the banks have all the money they need.

"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", Erdogan said.

By contrast, Spanish, French and Italian banks have loaned Turkey $83.3 billion, $38.4 billion and $17 billion, respectively.

Even in Turkey, iPhones are more popular.

Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, will speak with about 1,000 foreign investors on Thursday via a teleconference, the private NTV broadcaster said.

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