Turkish business groups are begging President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make amends with the U.S. in an effort to save the Turkish economy, the Financial Times reported. This is a rare public criticism of Erdogan, who has been intensifying his crackdown against any opposition.
The call from businesses came as Erdogan demanded a boycott of Apple and other U.S.-made products in an effort to hurt the United States.
Why is Erdogan mad at the United States?
The U.S. slapped sanctions on Turkey after the nation refused to release pastor Andrew Brunson. Brunson was arrested in 2016 on charges of participating in a failed military coup against Erdogan’s government. Brunson and his supporters have firmly denied the charges.
As Turkey’s currency started dropping, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be doubling its tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminum.
In retaliation for these sanctions and tariffs, Erdogan announced on Monday that his country would be boycotting U.S. electronics.
“We will boycott U.S. electronic products,” Erdogan said. “If they have iPhone, the other side has Samsung. In our country there is Venus, Vestel,” he added, referring to Turkish smartphone brands.
He sharply criticized the U.S. for its trade policy, claiming that the ultimate goal was destabilizing Turkey.
“They do not refrain from using the economy as a weapon against us, as they tried in the areas of diplomacy, military, or efforts for social and political instability,” Erdogan said.
“We will stand against the dollar, currency rates, inflation, interest rates. I believe in my nation,” Erdogan vowed, the New York Times reported.
How much has Turkey’s currency dropped?
The Turkish lira has lost more than 40 percent of its value. In 2014, one U.S. dollar would buy two Turkish liras. On Tuesday, one dollar was worth 7.2 lira.
Erdogan has said that he thinks the lira would stabilize, but investors are not convinced.
The defense bill that Trump signed Monday stopped the transfer of 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey until the Pentagon can reassess the situation. Complicating this process, companies based in Turkey are responsible for producing key parts of these jets.
The State Department warned Turkey in June that its plan to purchase these planes could be hurt if it continued with its plan to also buy Russian S-400 missiles.