RIYADH / SINOP, Turkey — Activists in Saudi Arabia, led by officials and princes of the Saudi royal family, have launched a campaign to boycott Turkish products in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reckless and provocative remarks in which he insulted Arab states in general and the Arab Gulf states in particular.
Last week, Erdogan stated that Turkey provides protection to the Gulf states through its relationship with and military base in Qatar. The comments prompted Saudi officials to call on their citizens to boycott Turkish products. The call soon evolved into a widespread campaign by Saudi activists on social media.
As for the influence of Arab countries on Turkey’s already hurting economy, the president of the Turkish Contractors Union, Medhat Yenigun, said that Turkish contractors suffered a loss of at least $3 billion in 2019, as a result of negative global impressions of Turkey.
Analysts say that if Saudi campaigns are successful, the Turkish economy could suffer heavy and devastating losses at a time of vulnerability.
The Saudi campaign is not the first to target the Turkish economy, as Greek companies launched boycott campaigns last June in response to the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Turkey’s military operation in North and East Syria last year led to a boycott in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Turkey could also face serious U.S. sanctions following its activation of the Russian made S-400 air defense systems. One S-400 has recently been transported to a testing facility outside Sinop, Turkey, along the Black Sea coast. Reports from today indicated that Turkey activated and tested the system today.