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Turkiye exports to Saudi Arabia increase sharply in first quarter of 2022

April 6, 2022 at 9:23 pm

Market stall in Istanbul, Turkey on 5 April 2021 [Tim Graham/Getty Images]

Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia spiked by 25 percent in the first quarter of 2022, as the two countries continue to make efforts to reconcile and improve relations after years of tension.

According to data released by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) this week, Turkiye’s exports increased from around $55 million in the first three months of last year to almost $70 million during the same period this year.

The Assembly also recorded a 215 per cent year-on-year increase, with $58 million in exports being made in March – the most profitable month – this year in comparison to $18.5 million made last March.

Despite the significant increase, it still does not compare with the height of Turkish exports to the kingdom at the beginning of 2020, when that year’s January alone amounted to $221 million in goods exported.

READ: Saudi Arabia, Turkiye discuss normalising relations

Later that year, Riyadh imposed a silent and unofficial boycott on Ankara’s trade, preventing trucks holding Turkish goods from entering the country. The Saudi government also forced Saudi businesses to cut off their trade with Turkiye and pressured businessmen to end their investments in Turkiye.

That boycott was primarily due to the clash of foreign policy goals between Riyadh and Ankara in the region, with the two backing opposing sides in Libya and disagreeing over the legitimacy of the government in Egypt since the 2013 military coup. Turkiye was also pushing to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, in which it maintained that the Saudi government and Crown Prince were involved in.

Following the past year of conciliatory talks and Turkiye’s handing over of the Khashoggi case to Saudi Arabia last week, however, there are signs – the latest being the increase in Turkish exports – that the two countries are closer to rapprochement.

READ: New winds are blowing in Turkiye and the Arab world