Erdogan to boycott iPhones as Turkey's feud with U.S. escalates


Erdogan's call for a boycott of United States products comes after the Trump administration increased metals tariffs on Turkey as part of a campaign to pressure Ankara to release the U.S. citizen, pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces charges of terrorism. Ankara has responded by threatening to boycott USA gadgets including Apple iPhones and sharply increasing duties on a number of American goods like tobacco, alcohol, cars, cosmetics, etc.

"The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the USA administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Vice President Fuat Oktay wrote on Twitter.

The lira recovered on Tuesday from near-record lows, helped by liquidity measures from the Turkish central bank.

Turkey's president appeared to escalate a dispute with the United States that has helped foment a Turkish currency crisis, claiming Tuesday that his country will boycott US-made electronic goods.

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

A decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the tariffs on cars to 120%, on alcoholic drinks to 140% and on leaf tobacco to 60%. "The drop by the Turkish lira may have stopped, but the country is yet to tackle the fundamental problems facing it, and this has kept market sentiment subdued", said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

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.

The tariffs come a day after Erdogan said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

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The country's finance minister - who is also Mr Erdogan's son-in-law - will seek to reassure around 1000 worldwide investors in a teleconference scheduled for Thursday.

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have intensified amid a dispute over the detention of Andrew Brunson, whom Turkey accuses of aiding a failed coup. U.S. sanctions against two Turkish ministers have sent the lira spiralling against the dollar, threatening a debt payment crisis for Turkish banks which have taken out billions...

While Erdogan didn't address their concerns in his speeches on Tuesday, he suggested Turks have already begun responding to his call to convert foreign exchange into lira because it would be tantamount to "surrendering" if they did otherwise.

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

The ruckus between Turkey and the USA has impacted on other countries' currencies, including the Indian rupee, as investors fear the lira's wobbles could spread to developing nations.

The lira - which had lost just under a quarter of its value in trade on Friday and Monday - however continued to claw back some ground on financial markets, rallying over five percent against the dollar.

"We view the policy of sanctions as unlawful and illegitimate, driven mostly by a desire to dominate everywhere and in everything, dictate policies and call shots in global affairs", Lavrov said.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan had also discussed using national currencies in trade.