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Saudi Arabia to ban all Turkish imports: report

Turkish goods will no longer be able to enter Saudi Arabia, according to Cumhuriyet [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2020

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The Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet has reported that Saudi Arabia will ban all imports of Turkish goods from 1 October, amid worsening political relations between the two countries.

A Turkish newspaper reported on Sunday that Saudi Arabia will ban all imports of Turkish goods from this week.

The Cumhuriyet daily, which is known for its criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, said that Saudi Arabia will ban all Turkish imports from Thursday, 1 October.

The newspaper said that unofficial restrictions on some goods from Turkey had been in place for months, but the new measure would amount to a more formalised and wider reaching ban on the Turkish imports.

Last year, Saudi Arabia stopped the import of textiles and perishable food from Turkey, leaving hundreds of Turkish trucks carrying these goods stranded on Saudi Arabia's borders.

The trucks were only allowed in after the intervention of Turkish diplomats and no further imports of these items were permitted.

According to Cumhuriyet any product with a "Made in Turkey" stamp will be banned from entering Saudi Arabia from 1 October.

The New Arab was unable to independently confirm Cumhuriyet’s report. It contacted the Saudi embassy in London but has not received a response.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have worsened over the past few years.

When Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed an economic blockade on Qatar in 2017, Turkey voiced its support for Doha and increased its trade and military relations with that country.

The horrific murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 further soured relations. On Monday, Turkey indicted six Saudi citizens for Khashoggi’s murder.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia also back opposite sides in the Libyan war and there are now reports that Riyadh and its ally the UAE are angry at Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the breakaway Nagorny-Karabakh region.

Cumhuriyet said that the reported Saudi ban on Turkish goods could affect thousands of small and medium sized businesses in the republic, due to the kingdom being the world's 15th largest purchaser of Turkish goods.

"Our customers got used to Turkish products, they are satisfied. However, they cannot buy our goods anymore. They say send them to us via a third country," a Turkish businessman who spoke to Cumhuriyet on condition of anonymity said.

Another Turkish newspaper, Dunya, reported that Riyadh had instructed individual Saudi businesses, telling them not to purchase Turkish goods, warning them of fines if they did not comply with the demand.

Turkey is a major supplier of furniture to Saudi Arabia, and Cumhuriyet reported that "all hotel furnishings" in Saudi Arabia are imported from Turkey.

Previously, Saudi Arabia used to import $3.3 billion of goods from Turkey, while exporting $3 billion worth of products to the country.

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