WORLD ECONOMY

Turkish traders suspend $50mln iPhone imports after Erdoğan call

Following Turkish President Erdoğan’s boycott call on US-made electronic products, Turkish traders suspended $50 million worth of iPhone orders in the key centers in Istanbul

Editor / Internet Yeni Şafak

As a row between NATO allies Ankara and Washington escalates, Turkey has geared up to boycott American electronic goods after Erdoğan’s call to the Turkish public to stop buying and importing U.S. products.

Turkish traders answered Erdoğan’s call and suspended purchases of iPhones at prominent trade centers in Istanbul such as the Doğubank commercial complex, Grand Bazaar, Tahtakale, Mahmutpaşa and Eminönü.

In Doğubank alone, three major importers have suspended purchasing $50 million worth of iPhone products.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said that Turkey will boycott U.S.’s technology products amidst a row between the two diplomatic allies.

“We will boycott American electronic products,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkey would produce a better version of every product previously bought with foreign currencies and export them.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively, causing the lira to lose value against the dollar.

Turkey in its turn increased tariffs on several U.S. products, including alcohol, tobacco and cars, according to a new presidential decree published Wednesday in the official gazette.

Traders halt short and long term orders

A Turkish trader in Istanbul said, “Demands have stopped abruptly. Also in other cities merchants have started to cancel their iPhone contracts or orders.”

On the other hand, some importers are try to turn the sudden fall in the lira into an advantage by keeping their products in storage. Most imported goods, especially office supplies cannot be found in the markets because some of them plan to raise prices after the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice holiday in Turkey.

It is estimated that a total of $7 billion worth of Apple’s iPhone products have been sold in Turkey in 10 years by reaching over 10 million people.

Referring to U.S. sanctions, Erdoğan said on Tuesday, "If they have their iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side. We have Vestel, Venüs in our country.”

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