Turks divided over President Erdogan calls for U.S. electronics boycott
admin • August 15, 2018 • 2214
iPhone 7 smartphone | REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Turks expressed differing opinions on Tuesday (August 14) after President Tayyip Erdogancalled on the nation to boycott electronic products from the United States, particularly iPhones, retaliating in a dispute with Washington that has helped drive the lira to record lows.
Hours after Erdogan‘s call, iPhone user Ayse Orga bought a new phone for herself at a bazaar selling electronics. Shopkeeper Umit Yilmaz voiced support for Orga.
“I have a 16-year-old daughter. Take her iPhone away from her, if you can,” Yilmaz said.
Another shopkeeper, Arif Simsek disagreed.
“We fully support this decision. We supported him with our lives on July 15 and now we will support him with our goods,” Simsek said, referring to the failed coup attempt in July 2016.
The lira has lost more than 40 percent this year and crashed to an all-time low of 7.24 to the dollar early on Monday (August 13), hit by worries over Erdogan‘s calls for lower interest rates and worsening ties with the United States.
The weakness of the Turkish currency has rippled through global markets. Its drop of as much as 18 percent on Friday (August 10) hit U.S. and European stocks as investors fretted about banks’ exposure to Turkey.
Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency. — Reuters
Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal on Thursday (March 5) in Syria’s Idlib region, their two leaders said after talks in Moscow to contain a conflict which has displaced nearly a million people in three months.
Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing some rebel groups. Several previous deals to end the fighting in Idlib have collapsed.
The latest offensive in Idlib by Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air strikes, sparked what the United Nations says may be the worst humanitarian crisis yet in a war that has driven millions from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.
The Russian military has, however, repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring enough troops into Idlib to make up a mechanised division.
Turkey, which has the second largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funnelled troops and equipment into the region in recent weeks to resist the Syrian government advance and prevent a wave of refugees over its southern border.
Russia also raced to reinforce its troops in Syria by sea and air before the Putin-Erdogan talks.
Assad himself has vowed to recapture “every inch” of Syrian territory, but his depleted military depends heavily on Moscow’s power and Iranian-backed militias on the ground. Iran was not a party to Thursday’s deal.
Speaking on Russian TV channel Russia 24, Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad said the Russian-Syrian plan was to normalise relations with Turkey, despite their aggressive behaviour.
“Our common goal with Russia was and remains to make Turkey change its policy from the support of the terrorists and to bring our relations back to normal.” Assad said,”For us and for you (Russia), Turkey is a neighbour state, it would be natural to have normal relations with a neighbour state.
The fighting, which raised the prospect of a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, has killed around 60 Turkish troops in the region since last month. Two hours after the joint announcement Turkey’s defence ministry said two soldiers were killed after Syrian government forces opened fire in Idlib.
Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan about the recent killing of 34 Turkish troops in an air strike, saying the Syrian military had not known of their location.
Ahead of the talks, at least 16 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit a gathering of displaced people near the town of Maarat Misrin in Idlib, according to civil defence workers helping clear the rubble and search for survivors.
Russia denies targeting civilians.
Turkey hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle more. Seeking to extract more funding and support from Europe over Idlib, Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal in which it stopped migrants crossing into the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid. (Reuters)
Thousands of displaced Syrians stranded at the border with Turkey say they have nowhere to go but Turkey and then hopefully on to Europe.
Men, women and children have fled escalating violence in Idlib to displaced persons camps in border-towns like Atmeh, where the Turkish border is blocked off by an imposing grey concrete wall topped with barbed wire.
“The only solution before us is to enter Turkey, and from Turkey to Europe – any country that we can go to,” said 33-year-old displaced Syrian, Amer al-Ahmed on Wednesday (March 4). “We have nowhere else to go.”
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, said on Tuesday (March 3) that the number of displaced people has surged to 980,000, more than half of them children, who are now coping with inadequate shelter and a lack of sanitation facilities in areas near the Turkish border.
“Everyone wants to go to Europe because the situation is tragic here,” said Ahmed al-Khaled, 36, adding that he hopes the borders are opened.
Escalating military action by Russia and Turkey in Idlib risks a direct confrontation between the two major foreign powers in Syria’s war, days ahead of a summit of their leaders to hammer out a deal to halt the fighting.
Both countries say they hope to avoid a head-on clash, but after Turkey ramped up attacks on Russian-backed Syrian forces and Russian military police helped secure a town seized from Turkey-backed rebels, all sides acknowledge the risk.
Turkey, which has sent thousands of troops and military hardware into Idlib to confront Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, hosts 3.6 million Syrians and has closed its border saying it cannot take in more migrants. (REUTERS CONNECT)
Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.
Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.
The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.
The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect
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