RIYADH (MEMO) – Saudi Arabia’s purchases of Turkish goods are decreasing, according to the General Authority for Statistics, despite recent efforts to repair diplomatic ties.
According to official data, Saudi Arabia’s imports from Turkey all but dried up in June as they fell to as low as 5.7 million riyals (around $1.52 million).
Last July, Saudi Arabia amended its rules on imports from neighboring states, including Turkey.
Ankara and Riyadh have in recent months attempted to mend strained ties after a decade of tensions.
Turkey’s ties with Saudi Arabia, already strained by Ankara’s support for Qatar in a Persian Gulf dispute that lasted from June 2017 to January 2021, were thrown into crisis when dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – a critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – was killed by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul in 2018. Turkey has repeatedly called for those responsible for Khashoggi’s death to be brought to justice.
Consequently, the kingdom pushed 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 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.