Turkey’s president calls for a boycott of US electronics

Anna Jefferson
August 15, 2018

Tariffs on cosmetics, rice and coal were also increased. They also said Turkey should work to resolve the situation with the United States diplomatically while also improving relations with another major trading partner, the European Union. "We have other partnerships and alternative markets".

The dispute between the US and Turkey has started an economic crisis in Turkey that has pushed its currency to historic lows.

In a statement released Tuesday, Turkish business groups called on Erdogan to let the Turkish central bank raise interest rates to stop the currency crisis.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would like to form "a new alliance" with China, Iran and Russian Federation to resist economic pressures imposed by the Donald Trump administration. He suggested Turks would buy local or Korean phones instead, though it was unclear how the boycott would be enforced or encouraged. It was up 5 percent on Tuesday, at 6.55 per dollar, having fallen 42 percent so far this year, with most of those losses coming in recent weeks.

The political spat with Washington has added to pressure on Turkey's currency, the lira, which has plunged against the dollar.

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Fundamental concerns about the economy persist, however.

Markets are concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate increases to tackle double-digit inflation.

Citizens tend to have bank accounts in various currencies so how they move their money does have a meaningful impact on the lira's trajectory.

Attention will turn Thursday to an address by the finance minister to foreign investors for clues on any change in economic policy.

Andrew Craig Brunson is escorted by Turkish plain clothes police officers, July 25, 2018, in Izmir, Turkey. The same day, the country's government announced that it would hit us imports with a new round of tariffs.

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Turkey has accused the United States of waging an "economic war" as part of a plot to harm the country.

The move comes after the United States imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the continued detention of an American pastor on terror-related charges, and President Donald Trump compounded the country's economic crisis by doubling steel and aluminium tariffs to 50% and 20%, respectively.

One Turkish court has rejected an American Christian pastor's appeal to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted, but an upper court is yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday. A higher court was however, was scheduled to review the appeal, the agency said. Brunson has denied both charges, which his supporters say are fabricated.

Turkey is now in the middle of a severe financial crisis with the collapse of its currency in recent days. The tariffs themselves are minor and impact around $1 billion (€875 million) in trade, but they weighed on market confidence in the vulnerable Turkish economy.

The two countries have also been in conflict in Syria's war. The Turkish leader had already said the US risks pushing a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member to seek allies elsewhere.

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