Turkish airline, telecoms firm to halt U.S. advertising

FILE PHOTO: A Turkish airlines airplane at a docking station at the TAV airport in Skopje, Macedonia May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s national airline and its main telecoms firm will halt advertising in U.S. media in response to the crisis in relations between the two allies, company officials said on Tuesday.

Flag carrier Turkish Airlines and Turk Telekom made their announcements after a campaign on Twitter calling for an end to advertising in U.S. media outlets.

The moves came as President Tayyip Erdogan, whose government is locked in dispute with Washington over the fate of a U.S. evangelical pastor on trial in Turkey, announced a boycott on Tuesday of U.S. electronic goods.

An official at one of the companies said the advertising boycott would encompass all written, visual and social media, although existing advertising campaign agreements would not be affected.

“We as Turkish Airlines are taking our place alongside our state and people,” senior vice president for media relations Yahya Ustun wrote on Twitter with the hashtag #ABDyeReklamVerme, meaning “don’t give advertisements to the USA”.

Hamdi Ates, corporate communications director at Turk Telekom, shared a similar message on Twitter.

The current focus of tensions between the two countries is the trial in a Turkish court of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who is accused of helping the group Ankara says was behind a failed military coup in 2016. He denies the charges.

The lira has plunged against the dollar as the row intensified, losing more than 40 percent of its value this year. Speaking after U.S. President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports, Erdogan has said an economic war was being waged against Turkey.

Reporting by Ceyda Cagalayan and Daren Butler, Editing by Dominic Evans, William Maclean