Saudi chambers of commerce calls for Turkish goods boycott

Saudi chambers of commerce leader calls for boycott of Turkish goods
3 min read
05 October, 2020
Saudi Arabia appears to be calling for an official boycott of Turkish goods.
Saudi Arabia has launched an 'unofficial' boycott of Turkish goods [Getty]

A leading Saudi business figure has called for a boycott of Turkish goods, amid growing political differences between the two countries.

The Chairman of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce, Ajlan Al-Ajlan, tweeted over the weekend that Saudi businesses and consumers have a national duty to boycott Turkish goods and services.

"A boycott of everything Turkish, be it imports, investment or tourism, is the responsibility of every Saudi 'trader and consumer', in response to the continued hostility of the Turkish government against our leadership, country and citizens," Al-Ajlan said in a tweet on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The Saudi government media office denied that the boycott was official policy.

"The official authorities in the Kingdom have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods," it said.

But the Saudi government has a strong influence over the private sector, particularly after the jailing, on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, of leading princes and business leaders.

Last week, The New Arab reported that Saudi Arabia was set to ban the entry of Turkish goods into the kingdom.

Turkish daily, Cumhuriyet, said the boycott was set to begin on 1 October and could affect thousands of businesses in the republic.

The opposition newspaper said that any product with a "Made in Turkey" stamp would be barred from entry to Saudi Arabia and that the kingdom was restricting access to Turkish products.

Turkish business leaders and politicians have previously claimed that goods from the republic were being deliberately held up at the border by customs.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have soured since the Arab Spring in 2011, with the latter supportive of pro-democracy movements across the Arab world and the former hostile.

Divisions widened after the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who took a more aggressive stance against critics of Riyadh and pro-democracy movements in the region.

This culminated with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, which Turkish intelligence linked to the crown prince.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have also been on opposite sides in the Libya war, with Ankara backing the UN-backed Government of National Accord, while Riyadh and its allies support militia leader Khalifa Haftar.

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

Saudi Arabia has also launched a blockade on neighbour Qatar, closing the country's only land border and blocking flights since June 2018.

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