Saudi authorities called upon citizens to "boycott everything Turkish" following a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan where he accused some Gulf countries of pursuing policies that were destabilising the region, Gulf News reported on Saturday.
“The boycott of everything Turkish, whether on the level of import, investment or tourism, is the responsibility of every Saudi — trader and consumer — in response to the continued hostility of the Turkish government against our leadership, our country and our citizens,” Saudi Arabia’s Chamber of Commerce head Ajlan Al Ajlan said in a tweet.
In addition to accusing some Gulf countries of targeting Turkey and following policies that led to instability, the Turkish president had, during an address to the country's General Assembly, also said: “It should not be forgotten that the countries in question did not exist yesterday, and probably will not exist tomorrow; however, we will continue to keep our flag flying in this region forever, with the permission of Allah.”
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been thorny especially since the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi that took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government but has never directly blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely believed to be behind the gruesome murder.
Earlier this week, Turkey indicted six Saudi suspects in Khashoggi's murder case. None of the suspects are in Turkey and will be tried in absentia. Twenty Saudi nationals are already on trial in an Istanbul court for Khashoggi’s killing.
The indictment came weeks after a Saudi court overturned five death sentences issued after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia that ended last year, sentencing them to 20 years in prison instead.
Recently, Erdogan also condemned the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain's decision to normalise ties with Israel. After the announcement of normalisation of ties between UAE and Israel, Erdogan had warned Turkey could suspend diplomatic relations with the Gulf state in response.
Turkey has had diplomatic relations with Israel for decades, but under President Erdogan, has positioned itself as a champion of the Palestinians.