Creating new perspectives since 2009

Saudi lifts unofficial ban on Turkish goods

January 26, 2022 at 9:07 am

A woman shops for laundry detergent at a supermarket in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh following a call by the head of the Saudi chamber of commerce Ajlan al-Ajlan to “boycott everything Turkish”, on 18 October 2020. [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has lifted the unofficial ban on Turkish goods, which came into place four years ago, Al-Khaleej Online reported yesterday.

As a result of the ban, Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia declined from $2.7 billion in 2018 to $189 million in 2021.

The move comes ahead of the planned visit to Saudi Arabia by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next month.

Kazem Taiji, a member of a Turkish commercial group, said Saudi Arabia is a good market for Turkiye, lamenting the full closure of Saud’s Al Jazeera Gate in 2020 to all Turkish goods.

Last month, Erdogan announced his plan to visit Saudi Arabia in February. He said he would discuss the issue of the Turkish exports to the kingdom with Saudi officials during his visit.

Meanwhile, Saudi exports to Turkiye reached $3 billion during the first 11 months of 2021 despite the Saudi ban on Turkish goods.

Last week, Turkiye lifted a ban on prominent Saudi and Emirati mass media, including Al Arabiya TV and Okaz newspaper.

READ: Some Turkish manufacturers pause production after Iran gas supplies disrupted

ver the past few years, relations between Saudi and Turkiye have been increasingly strained by diplomatic differences and by each other’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, and especially by Turkiye’s support of Qatar following the blockade imposed on it by the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt in 2017.

Relations reached breaking point with the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Following months of investigations into the murder and a UN report concluding that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi under the direct command of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Turkey has repeatedly called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Consequently, the kingdom has been pushing a campaign to encourage its tourists to boycott Turkey through all possible means, including the purchase of products, consumption of foods, sale of properties, dealings with Turkish companies, and especially tourism to the country. The campaign has garnered support amongst Saudi royals and figures, a famous case being when Riyadh’s influential governor Faisal Bin Bandar declined an offer of Turkish coffee, triggering a call for a boycott of Turkish products.

In August 2019, Saudi’s Ministry of Education made a series of modifications to its history books, altering the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and referring to it as an “occupation”.

The Saudi-led boycott of Qatar came to an end in January 2021 and relations with both the small Gulf state and its allies have thawed since.