White House Expresses Frustration With Continued Detention of US Pastor in Turkey

Gladys Abbott
August 15, 2018

'We will boycott United States electronic goods, ' Erdogan said in a televised speech, raising the stakes in a spat that has seen the Turkish lira plunge to record lows.

"We will impose a boycott on United States electronic products", Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech. He showed no signs of backing down in the stand-off and suggested that Turkey would stop procuring US-made iPhones and buy Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel instead.

Erdogan showed no signs of heeding their advice, calling on Tuesday for a boycott of U.S. consumer electronics.

"You act on one side as a strategic partner but on the other you fire bullets into the foot of your strategic partner", Erdogan further said, addressing Trump.

It's unclear how such a boycott would work, and the State Department said it couldn't confirm "that that is actually going to happen", according to spokesperson Heather Nauert.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures prior to delivering a speech in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week ramped up his attack on Turkey by increasing U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

Turkey's ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic on Monday held talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in a meeting what Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said was arranged by the White House. Following the meeting, USA officials have given no indication that the United States has been prepared to give ground in the standoff between the two countries' leaders.

While still nominally allies, the US and Turkey's relationship is continuing to fall apart amid new economic penalties in the continued fight over an American pastor detained in Turkey.

Oil prices jumped after Saudi Arabia said it cut production, adding to concerns about global supply as US sanctions against Iran bite its exports.

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The lira posted gains on forex markets for the first time after days of losses, giving the currency much-needed respite.

In the last 24 hours or so, with Erdogan's Treasury and Finance minister - who's also his son-in-law - pledging to defend the Turkish lira, there has been some respite for both the lira and other emerging market currencies.

The U.S. slapped sanctions on Turkey after the nation refused to release pastor Andrew Brunson. However, the lira recovered some ground on Tuesday, trading at 6.60 to the dollar, up around five percent on the day, after having crashed to an all-time low on Monday.

"Once we got into August there was quite a bit of selling (of the euro), and it accelerated with the Turkey situation", said Wakabayashi.

"When the dollar turns into a tool of political punishment, we will continue to take steps to protect the Turkish lira even more strongly in global trade", Albayrak said.

The dollar advanced to a 13-month peak on Tuesday against a basket of major currencies as traders increased their safe-haven holdings of the USA currency on worries about the fallout from the Turkish lira's recent fall.

Cavusoglu said that United States sanctions were being used to attack countries across the world and exert pressure on them, causing alarm in Europe.

But the U.S. insists Andrew Brunson, a long-time Turkish resident who ran the tiny Izmir Resurrection Church, is "a victim of unfair and unjust detention".

Mr Brunson's lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt on Tuesday appealed again to a Turkish court to release him and lift his travel ban.

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