AKP’s Kurtulmuş responds to Saudi boycott of Turkish goods

Speaking to Channel 7 Ankara on Sunday, Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairperson Numan Kurtulmuş said that Turkey was ‘laughing’ at the boycott.

"We laugh at the fact that some countries are boycotting Turkey. Let them first learn to stand as an independent country. Let them stop standing around a magic sphere like that and holding hands with the special permission they will take from their big brothers. Let them stand on the nobility of their people”, Kurtulmuş said.

Kurtulmuş was referring to a glowing orb which Saudi King Salman was photographed touching along with U.S. President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Sisi at the opening of a counter-terrorism centre in Riyadh in 2017. The reference to the Saudis’ big brothers was apparently a criticism of Riyad’s relationship with the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s boycott of Turkish products is unofficial, and was called for by Ajlan Al-Ajlan, the head of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce, a “a non-government group of private sector business officials”, according to Reuters. A Saudi official told the newswire that “The official authorities in the Kingdom have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods”.

One anonymous Saudi businessman told Reuters that Saudi customs officials had informally told him not to import goods from Turkey. However, trade between the two countries does not yet seem to have decreased between the two countries compared to 2019.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu commented on the boycott that “analysts are convinced that comments such as those made by Ajlan cannot be made without the “blessings” of the Saudi leadership, considering the Kingdom’s poor record in granting freedom of expression to its citizens.”

Nevertheless, the war of words has been increasing, with Turkish President Erdogan saying on October 1 of the Gulf states that ““It should not be forgotten that the countries in question did not exist yesterday, and probably will not exist tomorrow”.