Cairo: A vigorous Saudi campaign boycotting Turkish products has taken a toll on Turkey widely seen in the region as a destabilising and meddling power.
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, generating about 28,000 followers, prompting several suppliers of clothes to the Saudi market to relocate their operations to outside Turkey, according to the Saudi news portal Sabq.
“The Saudi people have taught Erdogan a harsh lesson worth billions of dollars by boycotting the Turkish products,” media personality Abdullah Al Bander tweeted, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The boycott call came after 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. Last year, the value of the construction projects carried out by Turkish contractors in Saudi Arabia declined to $559 million, compared to $3 billion in 2018, Sabq noted.
During the first nine months of this year, the figure has further fallen to $21 million, it added, citing the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
In the same vein, value of Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia plunged from $12.7 billion in 2015 to $9.4 billion last year, according to figures from the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.
In recent months, Turkey has been largely criticised for military involvement in Syria, Libya and Iraq, and pursuing destabilising acts in East Mediterranean.