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.