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Erdogan Vows US Boycott Amid Talks 08/14 06:16
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- 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 U.S.-made electronic goods.
Behind the scenes, however, diplomats resumed contact to ease tensions.
Addressing a conference of his ruling party faithful in the capital, Recep
Tayyip Erdogan added fuel to the spat with the U.S., even as local business
groups called on his government to settle the dispute through diplomacy.
Investors seemed to look through the fiery rhetoric, pushing the lira off
record lows on reports that Turkish and U.S. government officials held talks on
"We will implement a boycott against America's electronic goods," Erdogan
told the conference. He suggested Turks would buy local or Korean phones
instead of U.S.-made iPhones, though it was unclear how he intended to enforce
The move is seen to be in retaliation to United States' decision to sanction
two Turkish ministers over the continued detention of an American pastor on
terror-related charges, and to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum
Behind the scenes, however, diplomatic dialogue appears to have resumed.
Turkey's state-run news agency and U.S. officials say U.S. National Security
adviser John Bolton had met with the Turkish ambassador to Washington on Monday.
That helped ease tensions in financial markets, with the Turkish lira
stabilizing somewhat near record lows. It was up 5 percent on Tuesday, at 6.55
per dollar, having fallen 42 percent so far this year, with most of those
losses coming in recent weeks.
Investors are worried not only about Turkey's souring relations with the
U.S., a longtime NATO ally, but also Erdogan's economic policies and the
country's high debt accumulated in foreign currencies. Independent economists
say Erdogan should let the central bank raise interest rates to support the
currency, but he wants low rates to keep the economic growth going.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday, the industrialists' group TUSIAD and
the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges called on the government to allow
the central bank to raise interest rates to help overcome the currency crisis.
The business groups also urged diplomatic efforts with the United States and
an improvement in relations with the European Union, which is Turkey's major
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the finance chief would address hundreds
of foreign investors on Thursday in a teleconference.