An aerial view of the European side of Istanbul with the Ambarlı port in the foreground, the biggest port in Turkey, Nov. 9, 2018. (AP Photo)
Turkey’s leading business groups urged Saudi Arabia Saturday to take action to improve trade relations as Turkish firms encounter growing problems in conducting business with the Gulf Arab state.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over various regional issues – not least, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
For more than a year, Saudi and Turkish traders have speculated that Riyadh has been enforcing an informal boycott of imports from Turkey.
“Any official or unofficial initiative to block trade between the two countries will have negative repercussions on our trade relations and be detrimental to the economies of both countries,” eight Turkish business groups, including textile exporters and contractors, said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s government media office has said authorities have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods.
Last week, however, Ajlan al-Ajlan, the head of Saudi Arabia’s non-governmental Chambers of Commerce, called for a boycott of Turkish products in response to what he called continued hostility from Ankara.
“We deeply regret the discriminatory treatment that our companies face in Saudi Arabia … We expect Saudi authorities to take concrete initiatives to resolve the problems,” said the business groups, which included the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).