President Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey would boycott electronic products from the United States, retaliating in a row with Washington that helped drive the lira to record lows.
Who Is Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan also said Turkey was boycotting U.S. electronic products. "If they have iPhones, there is Samsung on the other side, and we have our own Vestel here," he said, referring to the Turkish electronics company, whose shares rose 5 percent.
The lira has lost more than 40 percent this year and crashed to an all-time low of 7.24 to the dollar Monday, hit by worries over Erdogan’s calls for lower borrowing costs and by worsening ties with the United States, its NATO ally.
Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency.
"Together with our people, we will stand decisively against the dollar, forex prices, inflation and interest rates. We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together," he told members of his AK Party in a speech.
The United States has imposed sanctions on two Turkish government ministers over the trial on terrorism charges of U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, and last week Washington raised tariffs on Turkish metal exports.
The White House said on Tuesday President Donald Trump was frustrated that Turkey had not released Brunson. "The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released as well as the fact that other U.S. citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told a briefing.
A White House official said the United States was warning more economic pressures may be in store for Turkey if it refuses to release Brunson.
But despite the international alarm by western markets and countries, the country is finding allies in support of its currency and in the row against Washington.
Russia backs using national currencies, not the U.S. dollar, in its trade with Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, but he made no firm commitments that would immediately help Ankara to weather its currency crisis.
"The use of national currencies for mutual trade has for several years been one of the tasks that the presidents of Russia and Turkey had set," Lavrov told a joint news conference with Cavusoglu in Ankara.
"Identical processes have been happening in our relations with Iran. Not only with Turkey and Iran, we’re also arranging and already implementing payments in national currencies with the People’s Republic of China," he said.
"I am confident that the grave abuse of the role of the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency will result over time in the weakening and demise of its role," Lavrov said, echoing statements made by President Vladimir Putin.