Turkish president says country will boycott iPhones

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Apple store istanbul
Apple's spectacular flagship store in Istanbul.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone is among the U.S. electronic good that could be barred from Turkey as part of a new boycott announced by the country’s president on Tuesday.

“If [people currently] have iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side,” President Recep Erdogan said in a speech at a Symposium in Ankara, the country’s capital city. “And we have our own telephone brands,” he added.

“We are going to produce enough for ourselves. We have to serve better quality goods than we are importing from [the U.S.],” Erdogan continued.

During his speech, Erdogan singled out the iPhone as a notable American import. He took the opportunity to namecheck Vestel Venus phones as a Turkish alternative to Apple’s handset.

It’s not clear from the speech quite what this boycott could entail — whether it’s Erdogan encouraging people to buy non-American devices or whether this will be a full-on ban on imports. Erdogan claims that his stance against U.S. imports is necessary due to the recent collapse in Turkish assets.

U.S. sanctions against Turkey recently sent the country’s currency, the lira, into free fall. The Trump administration introduced the economic sanctions as the result of an American Christian pastor who is currently standing trial on alleged terrorism charges. There is a fear the resulting financial meltdown could spread to other markets.

At present, iOS has around a 16 percent market share in Turkey. Apple has two retail stores in the country, both located in Istanbul, the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center. What a boycott on iPhones (and potentially other Apple products) would mean for these locations isn’t clear. But it certainly can’t be good news!

Source: CNBC