ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the stakes in a diplomatic stand-off between his country and the US with a call to boycott US electronic goods such as iPhone.
The call is in retaliation for recent sanctions imposed by Washington over the detention of an American pastor for almost two years.
Whatever we buy from abroad we are going to produce here in better quality and export it. We are going to boycott US electronics, said Erdogan on Tuesday. If they have iPhones, there is Samsung on the other side, and we have our own Venus, Vestel here, he said in a speech to members of his AK Party. The call resulted in a 5 percent increase in the share value of Turkish electronic company Vestel.
However, Erdogan is known for his use of Apple products, with his famous appeal on the night of the July 2016 failed coup calling on citizens to take to the streets carried out through FaceTime, an iPhone app.
By MENEKSE TOKYAY
Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat who chairs the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy, said Erdogans latest gamble was not the right way to tackle the countrys economic challenges.
At this point what is needed is to reassure markets and investors that the government is aware of the difficulties and the structural problems of the Turkish economy, Ulgen told Arab News.
The presidents combative remarks are more focused on maintaining the support of Turkish public opinion at a time of economic duress. But these remarks also nurture a perception abroad that Ankara is failing to evaluate the needs and essential steps to avoid a more severe economic downturn, he said.
Turkeys current account deficit, which has widened to 6.3 percent of GDP, is a chronic problem as the country imports more goods and services than it exports, forcing it to borrow foreign money to make up the difference.
Paul Levin, director of Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies, said that any positive effects of patriotic action by tradesmen, retailers and ordinary Turks to defend the lira will be temporary.
A sustainable response would entail monetary policy actions that convince the markets that Turkish policymakers can be trusted again. The nationalist rhetoric and talk of boycotts hurt more than it helps, Levin told Arab News. A cease-fire in the diplomatic spat with the US would b...