Why has Apple suspended sales in Turkey?

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Turkey TurkeyTurkey’s currency hit all-time lows for a series of eleven sessions, bringing its losses since the beginning of the year to 43 percent, a decline of 23 percent since the beginning of last week. A debacle that is triggering a social crisis.

The opposition party CHP has called for early elections to stop Erdoğan’s insane monetary policy. Protests are breaking out across the country in these hours, and the police intervened a little while ago to quell women’s revolt. Yesterday the security forces arrested hundreds of dissidents, but the situation is in danger of precipitating. The government of Ankara focuses on the strategic role in the refugee dossier to have the support of Europe, but it may not be enough. To understand how dramatic the situation is, look at what big companies like Apple are doing.

Inflation in Turkey is close to 20%. One Turkish lira, today, is equivalent to about 0.074 euros. The coin’s value has been falling steadily since last week, and – precisely because of this volatility – Apple has decided to suspend the sale of its products in Erdoğan’s country.

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Nonetheless, the relative drop in prices has led Turks to form long queues outside Apple Stores (there are only three in Istanbul), and Apple employees are forced to turn away most of the people who go there to buy. In the future, the Cupertino giant is expected to raise the price of iPhones and other devices to compensate for the decline in the lira’s value. For now, however, those who thought they could take advantage of it are rejected, waiting for better times. In particular, sales will resume when the lira has stabilized against the dollar.

As a result, the three Istanbul stores have stopped selling all Apple devices – from iPhones to Macs – except for some models of AirPods (this, at least, is what the employee of one of the Stores reports to Mac reports). To clear the queues, potential customers are asked in advance why they went to the Apple Store: if they are there to buy, they are sent home; if instead, they want to take advantage of the technical support at the Genius Bar, they can stay and wait their turn.

Also, according to employees, the demand for Apple products has been very high in the last period. As a result, the dollar rose by almost 80% compared to the Turkish lira, which meant that Turkey’s prices were lower than in the United States. In the past, in reality, the situation was the opposite: Turkish customers preferred to buy smartphones and computers directly from the United States since Turkey has always imposed very high taxes on these types of imported goods.

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