Turkish municipality stops licensing Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King

Following a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to boycott American electronics, a district municipality in Ankara has stopped issuing business licenses to US companies including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King, the Ahval news website reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the city council of the Keçiören Municipality, which is run by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), unanimously voted to stop issuing business licenses to American companies. Mayor Mustafa Ak said hoped the decision would inspire other municipalities to retaliate against the US in the “economic war.”

AKP asks Turkish municipalities to avoid foreign brands

Also, a circular has been issued by Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters for municipalities asking them not to use foreign electronics brands, mainly those from the US, the pro-government Sabah daily reported on Thursday.

The circular, which bears the signature of Erol Kaya, the AKP chairman responsible for local administrations, asks municipalities to take measures against the financial attacks faced by Turkey.

The circular says those municipalities that have not yet begun to use PARDUS, a free-of-charge Linux system developed with support from the Turkish government, should immediately begin to use it instead of foreign software programs.

The municipalities are warned not to use electronic devices, mobile phones, computers, etc., of US origin and to use national brands or the brands of countries that do not make political or financial threats against Turkey.

The circular also calls on municipalities to avoid using US brands for construction, manufacturing, maintenance, ventilation, equipment, cleaning supplies and such. The municipalities are also asked to conduct all financial transactions in Turkish lira.

Turks get into iPhone smashing frenzy in protest of Trump policies

Meanwhile, the video footage of a Turkish man smashing five iPhones with a sledgehammer while four boys kneel in the background in front of a Turkish flag and shout “Allahu Akbar” went viral on social media late on Wednesday, leading to an iPhone-bashing trend around the country to protest actions targeting Turkey by the US administration of Donald Trump.

“This one is for Reis [chief],” he says before smashing the first phone, a nickname used by fans of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He continues to bash phones in the name of Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül and Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, who were sanctioned by the US administration over the two-year detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson on espionage charges. He attributes the last two iPhone obliterations the homeland and the Turkish flag.

“Who do you think you are?” the unidentified iPhone smasher says, calling on US President Trump directly. “If you threaten us with hunger, you will only make us laugh. Do whatever is in your power,” he says before taking a sledgehammer to the iPhones handed over by the boys. “Look now what will happen to your iPhones on the orders” of Erdogan.

The boys in the background make wolf and Rabia signs with their hands, the former symbolizing an ultranationalist party and the latter adopted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in its bylaws after serving as a popular sign of the Muslim Brotherhood during coup protests in Egypt in 2013. In the Turkish version, each finger stands for a component of the Turkish Republic — one homeland, one state, one flag, one nation – with the gesture used by Erdoğan in numerous public speeches.

The video spread like wildfire, prompting a number of people to share their own videos of iPhone destruction while cursing the US, including a man shooting his iPhone point blank with a handgun and one burning it in a box full of matchsticks.

Another video shows Cemal Enginyurt, a lawmaker from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), buying a Samsung smartphone and asking a fellow party member to throw his old iPhone on the floor and jump on it. His colleague complies, proclaiming, “The US is being dragged across the floor.”

Turks are finding unique ways to react as the political tension between Turkey and the US turns into an economic conflict, with the Trump administration doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey and President Erdoğan imposing additional tariffs on products from the US, including alcoholic beverages, automobiles, and paper products.

Unusual protests are not new to Turkey, with people protesting the dollar’s increase in value against the Turkish lira by burning dollar bills earlier this month, a small group praying for a halt in the rise in value of the US dollar and AKP youth branches protesting Turkey’s political crisis with the Netherlands by stabbing and squeezing oranges last year.

‘No indication Turkey considering IMF financial assistance’

Meanwhile, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesperson said on Wednesday that there was no indication that Turkish authorities are considering asking for financial assistance from the Washington-based fund, as a row between the US and Turkey over the jailing of an American pastor continues, Reuters reported.

“In light of recent market volatility, the new administration will need to demonstrate a commitment to sound economic policies to promote macroeconomic stability and reduce imbalances, while ensuring full operational independence to the central bank to pursue its mandate of securing price stability,” said the spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The fund was monitoring the situation closely, the spokesperson added.

Turkey has been facing a currency crisis since its relations with the US administration were dramatically strained over a court decision to put American pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest after almost two years in pretrial detention rather than release him as demanded by the US administration.

Following the court ruling, US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on Turkey if Brunson were not freed.

After imposing economic sanctions on two Turkish ministers on Aug. 1 for their role in the detention of evangelical pastor Brunson, President Trump on Friday ramped up his sanctions on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Turkish President Erdoğan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott electronics from the US in response to a currency crisis caused by US sanctions imposed over the detention of Brunson.

“We will boycott American electronics. They may have an iPhone, but there’s always Samsung. We have our Venüs Vestel. We will put that into practice so they can understand what we do and what we can do,” Erdoğan said. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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