Escalating tension between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, more visible since the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October, has led to anti-Turkey sentiment in the kingdom.
Following earlier reports that the Saudi administration has called upon its citizens to not visit Turkey for tourism or invest in the country, the kingdom is now holding more than 80 Turkish trucks at the customs border on various grounds.
According to Turkish language daily Hürriyet, container trucks on their way to Turkey are currently held up by Saudi customs. While some trucks carry textile goods, others carry fresh fruits and vegetables. Approximately 7,000 tons of fruits and vegetables have already rotted due to the long wait, causing Turkish exporters to lose around $25,000 to $30,000.
Turkish broadcaster CNN Türk reported that textile goods exported to Saudi Arabia have been kept waiting at customs. Textile goods exported from Istanbul’s Merter, Laleli and Osmanbey districts have been embargoed at the airport and land route entrances.
While businesspeople argued that Saudi customs were deliberately holding Turkish products, they also highlighted that the reasons presented by the kingdom’s officials have no basis in fact.
The Trade Ministry is currently negotiating to resolve the problem. The International Freight Transporters Association (UND) stressed that negotiations to resolve the issue continue and the association is cooperating with the Foreign Ministry and Trade Ministry to settle the problem, reported Hürriyet.
Meanwhile, Turkish Exporters’ Association (TİM) board member Selahattin Kaplan said on his Twitter account Thursday that the customs problem with Saudi Arabia has been resolved.