Saudi Arabia Places Full Embargo on Turkish Products

An employee serves a portion of Turkish baklava at a shop in Istanbul’s Eminönü neighborhood. Credit: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

In what is seen as another knockout blow to Turkey’s already tottering economy, Saudi Arabia has lowered an embargo against all of the products which once flowed into the kingdom from that country.

According to a report from the newspaper Cumhuriyet, the Saudis have finally lowered the boom on all Turkish goods, including the many textiles it traditionally exports, along with perishable food. Put into law last year, the plan has only now come into effect. Fines are expected to be levied on any firm that ignores the embargo.

Reportedly, hundreds of Turkish trucks had been stopped at the Saudi border before diplomats stepped in to break the impasse. “Thousands” of parcels and packages from Turkey are piling up in Saudi airports.

Back in 2017, when Saudi had moved against the neighboring country of Qatar over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, cutting off its many ties with that nation, Turkey had staunchly defended Qatar in myriad ways, including militarily and economically.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey took another turn for the worse after the grisly October 2, 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. At that time, Saudi Arabian business groups, including the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for a complete boycott on all products coming out of Turkey.

Ever since that time, various Saudi bodies have placed pressure on businesses to cease trade with Turkish entities, with the Turkish newspaper Dunya even reporting that the Saudi authorities had contacted some businesses on an individual basis, ordering them one by one to cease trade with Turkish companies.

Cumhuriyet quoted an anonymous Turkish businessman who complained “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.

And it is not just consumer products that will get the brunt of the new embargo. Saudi Arabia is now even discouraging its subjects from traveling to Turkey for any reason whatsoever and the number of Saudi Arabians traveling to the country has already decreased 17 percent over the last year.

Saudi Arabian media outlets have recently called Turkey an “unsafe location” due to what it said was rising rates of petty crime, as well as purported gun violence. The Saudi embassy in Ankara also reported that there has been increased violence directed toward Saudis.