And the call for the boycott spread very quickly to become a title for the presence of the Saudis on the communication sites, then the matter turned into reality by urging local officials in the sectors of trade and industry citizens to boycott the products coming from Turkey or bearing a mark proving that they were made in Turkey, which bothered businessmen In Turkey, it has become a pressure card on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Our contractors in the Middle East suffered a loss estimated at at least $ 3 billion in the past year, as a result of the impression that was formed against Turkey,” Medhat Yeni Kun, head of the Turkish Contractors Union, told the Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet.
Ajlan Al-Ajlan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Chamber in Riyadh, launched the Three No’s in the face of the Turkish economy, calling for not to deal with the Turks because they continue to insult the Saudi leadership.
Al-Ajlan said, “No investment … no import … no tourism … We as citizens and businessmen will not have any dealings with everything that is Turkish.”
Observers believe that the Turkish president cannot do anything about the Saudi position, as the matter appears in the form of an automatic popular boycott on which the Saudi leadership cannot be blamed, taken as a justification for a media campaign such as the one adopted by the Turks in the Khashoggi case, or looking for mediations to intervene. Also, this path will help Saudi Arabia avoid the controversy that accompanied the decision to boycott Qatar.
Silence also makes Erdogan in a difficult position, as he is accused in Turkey of causing a new crisis that will further confuse the exhausted Turkish economy, and that he will accumulate difficulties for Turkish businessmen who have made many gains from opening up to the Gulf in past years.
What exacerbates the crisis is that the boycott did not stop at the products that Turkish companies supply to Saudi Arabia, but rather expanded to include any imports of international companies producing in Turkey, which expands the circle of losses to the international companies that invest in the country and pushes them to search for other countries to invest in.
A British report revealed that the Turkish economy has been severely affected by the unofficial Saudi embargo on Turkish goods, indicating that global fashion retailers have also been affected by this matter.
The British Financial Times newspaper stated that the Spanish company Mango is looking for alternative suppliers to Ankara, given that its goods are made in Turkey and are limited to competition and supply between Ankara and Riyadh.
The newspaper report said that the Saudi ban on Turkish goods has hit international fashion brands such as Mango and Zara, the latest sign of escalating rivalry between regional powers.
An employee of the Spanish clothing group Mango explained that Saudi Arabia has banned all imports of products made in Turkey, while the Spanish company stated that its teams are looking for alternatives to slow down operations for products of Turkish origin in Saudi Arabia.
Mustafa Gultepe, head of the Istanbul Clothing Exporters’ Union, revealed that all retailers producing in Turkey and exporters to Saudi Arabia were affected by this decision.
Turkish exporters have complained that their products have faced long delays at Saudi customs over the past month.
The companies view the problems as an attempt by Saudi Arabia and its close ally the Emirates to punish Ankara for its destabilizing interference in the Arab world.
Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two largest economies in the Middle East, have become more tense than ever, as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi accuse Erdogan of interfering in Arab affairs and supporting Islamic groups, as well as interfering in Libya and supporting armed groups.
Erdogan is concerned that the implicit boycott will turn into a comprehensive blockade that may extend from Saudi Arabia to other Gulf and Arab countries that will choose to stand by Saudi Arabia, which has a strong network of investments, funds and aid for most Arab countries, which could turn the Saudi silent boycott into a model for a more comprehensive Arab boycott in particular. This model spares states and official bodies from any political embarrassment.
Observers of the Gulf affairs point out that Erdogan erred in assessing the power and influence of Saudi Arabia in recent years when he expected to blackmail it through political and media pressures to serve his economy, pointing out that the Saudis, who avoid issuing statements and fighting media battles, know when to strike the blow. Give them consideration and deliver the necessary message to their opponents.
The Turkish president is betting on his popularity in the Syrian Brotherhood circles in Saudi Arabia, and it is now latent and awaiting the right moment, but the new Saudi leadership can cut off Erdogan through any new maneuver by creating crises or leaking files, especially since it has rejected more than once the blackmail from countries. More important than Turkey.
The Saudi public and official anger against Turkey was not caused by the Khashoggi affair and the Turkish attacks that followed and attempts to harm the kingdom and its leaders, but it began since Erdogan sought to strike Saudi Arabia as the main Sunni power in the Middle East and rob its legal influence through the alliance with the Iranian sectarian project, and through Sunni tools such as Hamas and branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.
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