Amazon delays Turkey start on U.S. crisis – columnist

Amazon has postponed plans to begin operating in Turkey after a political crisis with the United States prompted a call by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to boycott American brands.

The U.S. firm, which has set up an office in Istanbul, was due to start services in the country on Tuesday of this week but has now delayed the plans to the end of September or to October, said Jale Ozgenturk, a columnist for Hurriyet newspaper, citing sources she didn’t identify.

U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled import tariffs on the country’s steel and aluminium after Erdoğan failed to ensure the release from custody of pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held under house arrest on terrorism charges. Washington is also calling for other Americans, who include three local consular workers, to be freed from jail.

Amazon, Alibaba and E-Bay are all looking to expand into Turkey, Ozgenturk said.

The crisis with the United States has also pared demand for imported goods as the Turkish lira fell sharply against the dollar and other major currencies. The lira has lost almost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year. The tensions with the United States have added to concerns for economic stability. Government stimulus has helped push up the inflation rate to almost 16 percent.