US-Turkey ties continue downward spiral
Trump signs bill delaying delivery of F-35; Ankara threatens to boycott US electronics
Despite a call from Turkish business groups for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to mend ties with Washington, the leader was defiant on Tuesday, calling for a boycott of US electronic equipment.
While the lira ended a dramatic slide that had seen fresh record lows recorded on a daily basis, several industry associations made a rare show of dissent.
TUSIAD, the Turkish Industry and Business Association, and TOBB, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, urged “diplomatic efforts to urgently resolve the problems in the US-Turkey relationship,” according to a report in The Financial Times.
Erdogan showed no signs of heeding their advice, calling on Tuesday for a boycott of US consumer electronics. “If [the US] has the iPhone, there’s Samsung on the other side,” Erdogan was reported as saying. It was unclear how he planned to enforce such a boycott.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump signed into law a defense spending bill that provisionally blocks the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. Lawmakers who authored the bill cited the detention of a US citizen – the same issue highlighted in recent weeks by the Trump administration – as one reason for blocking the transfer of the stealth aircraft.
The Pentagon has lobbied Congress to allow Turkey’s continued participation in the F-35 program, and a final decision from lawmakers is pending review of a Defense Department report.
Erdogan’s call for a boycott of US products comes after the Trump administration increased metals tariffs on Turkey as part of a campaign to pressure Ankara to release the US citizen, pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces charges of terrorism.