Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Ankara is counter-sanctioning the United States by instating a boycott of American electronic goods.
The Turkish leader’s declaration comes as a counter-attack to Washington’s economic war unleashed when Trump raised tariffs on metal imports from Turkey on Friday, which led to the Turkish lira losing around 20% of its value overnight.
Today Erdogan called Washington’s tariffs a “stab in the back” and “economic attack” on Turkey.
“Previously such things would have been done more discreetly, and now they are coming at us openly. We can do two things: an economic and a political stance. From the economic position, we are adopting measures, our Ministry of Finance and treasury are working day and night. In addition, we will declare a boycott on electronic goods from the US. They have their iPhone, but on the other hand there is Samsung,” Erdogan stated, adding that Ankara’s counter-sanctions will entail an emphasis on using Turkey’s local Venüs Vestel phone brand.
“Instead of ordering something from abroad for money, we will do even better and ourselves propose things to them. Our nation is capable of this. When we asked the US for drones, what did they respond with? ‘Congress won’t allow it.’ This misfortune helped bring fortune. Now we produce them ourselves with no problems. And we will produce as many as we need”, RIA Novosti quotes the Turkish leader as remarking.
The latest pretext for Washington’s clamping down on its (perhaps now *former*) ally Turkey is Ankara’s refusal to release American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in the aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey of June 2016, in response to Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of being behind the 2016 coup attempt.
Last week the US also imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Minister of Justice and Minister of Internal Affairs for “serious human rights violations.” Turkish lawyers, meanwhile, have responded with a lawsuit calling for the arrest of American military officers at the Incirlik airbase, who are accused of ties with terrorist groups.
Erdogan’s announcement of a boycott follows his last big announcement that Turkey is preparing to launch a new military operation in Syria.
In recent days Erdogan has repeatedly claimed that the US is forcing Turkey to “look for new friends and allies.” In a New York Times op-ed the Turkish president decried a “trend of unilateralism and disrespect” from Washington as responsible for the present crisis in US-Turkey relations.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is currently visiting Ankara with the agenda of discussing the situation in Syria and expanding Russian-Turkish economic ties.