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Saudi Arabia bans Turkish imports, tightening the ‘noose’ on its faltering economy

The decision of the King of Saudi Arabia to ban the import of Turkish products enters into force today.

Riyadh has imposed an unofficial embargo on Turkish products, including textiles and perishable food, since last year.

This is simply another blow to the reeling economy after the free-fall of the Lira and the consecutive negative ratings by Rating Houses.

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The Saudis have stopped hundreds of Turkish trucks on the border with Saudi Arabia and thousands of Turkish parcels from Turkey at Saudi airports. The trucks were allowed into the country only after Turkish diplomats intervened in the kingdom, Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reports.

In 2017, when Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed an embargo on neighboring Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Ankara rushed to support Qatar financially and militarily.

In addition, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have deteriorated further following the political crisis sparked by the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry then called for a full boycott of Turkish products.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has launched a campaign to discourage its citizens from travelling to Turkey.

The kingdom’s media has designated Turkey as an unsafe destination due to growing petty-crime against Saudi citizens and gun ownership in the country. The media message is reinforced by the Saudi embassy in Ankara, which has also warned of an increase in violence against Saudi nationals.

The number of Saudi tourists coming to Turkey fell by 17% last year, increasing pressure on the Turkish economy.

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