TUNISIA: Calls in Tunisia to follow Saudi Arabian campaign of boycott of Turkish products

TUNIS/RIYADH – After Saudi activists, led by officials and princes of the Saudi royal family, launched a large-scale media campaign to boycott Turkish products, Tunisian activists have followed suit. A number of Tunisian activists, on Saturday, made calls on social media, to also boycott Turkish goods and products.

The activist said on social media that Turkish products have flooded the Tunisian market and caused great damage to local manufacturers and the national economy. With slogans like “stop the bleeding and the dumping Turkish goods in the country;”, “Put an end to Ankara’s control of the Tunisian market and save Tunisian companies and institutions from bankruptcy and closure;” and “stimulate the consumption of local products,” the activists claimed that since the Ennahda movement came to power, Tunisian local production was disadvantaged and caused Tunisian companies to bankrupt.

The supporters of this boycott campaign said they hope that all Tunisians will engage in boycotting Turkish products, and that the Tunisian state will stand up to protect its national products and defend its identity in the face of the “Turkification” of Tunisian markets.

The call to boycott came amidst calls for the necessity to review trade agreements with Ankara which benefited from amendments to the free trade agreement signed between the two countries during the rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The Tunisian initiative comes after an Saudi initiative over what Saudi activists call Erdogan’s reckless and provocative remarks in which he insulted Arab states in general and Arab Gulf states in particular. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are at loggerheads over many issues in the Middle East and have a troubled relationship. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan added fuel to the fire after he said that Turkey is the protector of Gulf states through Qatar – where it has a military base – which prompted Saudi officials to call on their citizens to boycott Turkish products.

The Saudi campaign is not the first to target the Turkish economy as Greek companies in June launched boycott campaigns in response to the conversion of the Hagia Sophia Church into a mosque.