Cell phones incite people, push them to show off: Erdoğan

Cell phones incite people, push them to show off: Erdoğan

Cell phones incite people, push them to show off: Erdoğan

Turkish President Erdoğan speaks during Turkcell's 20th anniversary ceremony. AA Photo

Already well known for his hostility to social media, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now mocked the capriciousness of the cell phone market.

Despite stressing the importance of investing in high-tech industry based on technological innovation, Erdoğan complained that cell phones “incite people and push them to show off” by buying the latest models as if they are just “chewing gum.”

“You know that people own more than one [cell phone]. Some have two and others have three. It’s almost as if you are competing through them. And it’s not easy because cell phones are updated every day,” he said in a speech at the 20th anniversary celebration of Turkey’s largest mobile service provider, Turkcell.

“Everyone shows off against each other. They say, ‘a new [model] is out.’ Then they go buy a new one as if they are buying chewing gum from the grocery store. There are people living like that. [Cell phones] incite people,” Erdoğan argued, adding that consumers’ enthusiasm was pushing companies to innovate and produce new models.

Based on this example, the president urged Turkish companies to invest more in technology sectors with added value. “One of the most important elements in our 2023 targets is to become not a country that consumes, but one that produces communication technology,” he said.

Erdoğan’s statements recall his recent dismissal of Apple’s new iPhone6 for “being the same” as its predecessor. However, he also has a complicated relationship with phones in general, claiming that he was wiretapped by the “parallel state,” a term used by the government to refer to the followers of the U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen.

A number of voice recordings were leaked earlier this year, allegedly featuring Erdoğan with media and private company officials or his son. However, the then-prime minister rejected all claims, describing the recordings as a “montage.”

Anti-dumping measures on way

Meanwhile, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has announced that Turkey will issue anti-dumping laws on cell phones. “From notebooks to cell phones, we want them to be produced in Turkey. If Turkey makes $5-6 billion in imports in those two fields, the companies should come and produce them here,” Zeybekci said.