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

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Keçiören Municipality building in Ankara.

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.”

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 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.

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