Turkey’s imports from Saudi Arabia rose to $3 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, while exports to the country decreased to $189 million in the same period due to a de facto boycott of Turkish goods for over a year, local media reported on Sunday, citing Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data.
According to the data, Turkey had a foreign trade deficit of $2.8 billion with Saudi Arabia last year, as Saudi decreased its Turkish imports from $3.2 billion in 2019 to $189 million in 2021 while increasing its exports to Turkey from $1.9 billion in 2019 and $1.7 billion in 2020 to $3 billion in 2021.
“Chemical products” made up the bulk of the imports from Saudi Arabia, at $2.7 billion, local media reports said.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads since the 2011 uprisings across the Arab world when Riyadh accused Ankara of supporting Islamist political groups.
While Saudi Arabia lifted the economic embargo against Qatar, which had been going on for three and a half years, in January 2021, the country’s de facto boycott against Turkey, which supported Qatar, hasn’t ended.
Tensions between Ankara and Riyadh escalated in 2018 over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s İstanbul consulate.
Although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made several statements regarding the restoration of ties with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bloc in late 2021, normalization of ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem realistic in the short term, analysts say. However, Erdoğan announced on Monday that he would pay a visit to Saudi Arabia in February.