Cairo: A famous Saudi retail chain has said it has stopped importing Turkish products amid a high-profile campaign to boycott Turkey over its meddling policies in the region.
The Abdullah Al Othaim Markets also said it has ordered the retailer’s managers to halt dealing in Turkish goods from local suppliers and to quickly “get rid of” stocks of such products in all its branches and warehouses, the Saudi online newspaper Sabq reported.
The retailer’s move is meant to show solidarity with the public campaign for boycotting Turkey.
“This decision has come in solidarity with the popular boycott campaign and out of the company’s belief in its national duties,” the retail chain said in a Twitter statement. “Our leaders, government and security are a red line that cannot be crossed.”
The company, meanwhile, expressed greetings and respect to the Turkish people, absolving them of “shameful acts” of their government.
It said it has made available alternatives to the Turkish goods at competitive prices.
Earlier this month, head of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce Ajlan Al Ajlan called for boycotting “everything Turkish” including imports, investment, and tourism.
In the ensuing days, the Arabic hashtag “Boycott the Turkish products” has trended, prompting several suppliers of clothes to the Saudi market to relocate their operations to outside Turkey.
The boycott call came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that some countries in the Arabian Gulf were targeting Turkey and adopting destabilising policies.
Even before Ajlan’s call, Turkey’s ailing economy has already felt the pinch of the anti-Turkish sentiment in Saudi Arabia. Last year, the value of the construction projects carried out by Turkish contractors in the kingdom declined to 559 million dollars, compared to 3 billion in 2018.
During the first nine months of this year, the figure has further fallen to 21 million dollars, Sabq said, citing the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
In the same vein, the value of Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia plunged from 12.7 billion dollars in 2015 to 9.4 billion last year, according to figures from the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.
In recent months, Turkey has been widely criticised for military involvement in Syria, Libya and Iraq, and pursuing destabilising acts in East Mediterranean.