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Saudi Arabia imposes official embargo on Turkish imports


Saudi Arabia imposes official embargo on Turkish imports

Saudi turkey miguel virkkunen carvalho
Photo: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

A Saudi Arabian embargo on the import of Turkish products will reportedly take effect today.

Prominent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet flagged that Saudi Arabia is preparing to ban Turkish imports. While such a development is yet to be confirmed, it would serve as a continuation of Riyadh’s unofficial embargo on Turkish goods for over a year now.

The move reflects deteriorating Turkish-Saudi relations following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintains a rapport with Saudi King Salman, his relationship with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is non-existent and is expected to worsen as MBS prepares to ascend to the throne. Furthermore, the contentious relations between Ankara and Saudi Arabia’s key Gulf and Egyptian allies also makes a détente unlikely. Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE view Turkish support to political Islamist organisations as an existential national security threat.

However, there is potential to revitalise the Turkish-Saudi economic relationship over time. Turkey maintains ever-growing bilateral trade with both Israel and Egypt despite the inimical state of political relations. Should an official embargo materialise, the financial impact of losing $3.3 billion in exports to Riyadh would deliver another blow to Turkey’s already struggling economy.

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