The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told his people to stop buying American electronics, specifically noting that Turkish population should switch from iPhones to Samsung devices.
He also promoted the Venus phone by Vestel, a local Turkish smartphone manufacturer. As it stands, Apple iPhone models hold about 15% market share in the region.
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The Turkish president has repeatedly claimed that they are the target of an economic war, and asked Turks to sell foreign currency and maximise local purchasing to improve economic independence of the country.
Speaking on Tuesday, the Turkish president vowed that the nation of 81m would no longer buy from Apple or other American technology producers. “If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side,” he told ruling party members. “In our own country there is the Venus.”
The US administration has increased tariffs on Turkish metal exports and is sanctioning two Turkish ministers for the handling of a US pastor’s terrorism trial.
Lira, the Turkish currency, crashed this week amidst economic uncertainty. It’s not clear if the president intends to enforce a boycott of US goods, like Apple products, with regulation like tariffs or explicit bans.
Of course this is not the first time that major political powers have used the iPhone as a bargaining chip. US president Donald Trump tweeted that the US should boycott Apple before coming into office, despite tweeting from an iPhone at the time.