Should we boycott Turkish goods?

October 14, 2020
​​​​​​​Dr. Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali

A call for the boycott of Turkish goods has been doing rounds on social media over the past few weeks, reflecting a very bad image of Erdogan’s Turkey among members of Arab society.

The social media boycott call comes after Turkey lost all its credibility at the level of Arab governments.

It is a fact that the Turkish president has recruited most of the radical organizations, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in media campaigns targeting Arab people, and investing in a section of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in order to promote his image and that of his country.

In the current scenario, not all of the tools used by the Turkish president would help him clean the ugly face of Turkish politics, which aims to use Arab lives for its regional and international bargains. It was evident when Turkey sent Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan to defend Erdogan's foolish policies that can cause conflicts in the entire region.

All these hostile policies have prompted hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens to refrain from visiting Turkey, which was a major tourist destination until that time. Also, tens of thousands of Arabs refrained from investing in the Turkish real estate sector. But all of this will be just a fraction of what could actually be inflicted on the Turkish economy if other measures, including a boycott of goods, are intensified by the Arab states.

The Arab world has been a market for Turkish products over the past two decades. Indeed, the Arab market has pushed international companies to invest in the Turkish market, serving as a top destination for Turkish goods. Perhaps the political saying that “governments have their compulsions and people have their options” applies strongly to Arab-Turkish relations.

The Arab world now realizes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would just be a fleeting moment in Turkish history. However, their relations with the Turkish people are firm and fundamental, considering history, geography, and religion. The Arabs have issues only with the Erdogan’s regime, who has become paranoid and narcissistic and this is what is reflected in the Turkish foreign policy.

Erdogan, who shared the Syrian spoils with Russia and Iran and attacked Iraq, now incites trouble against Saudi Arabia and launches his antagonistic threats against the United Arab Emirates. He also wants to topple the Egyptian political system and propels his Brotherhood to assume power. He also seeks to besiege Egypt over the Nile dispute through Somalia, plans to and Sudan, and plans to intervene militarily in Sudan, and aims to threaten Egypt from the Libyan front.

He interferes in the Yemeni war, seeks to dominate Tunisia through the Ennahda Movement, besides involving in a series of explosive issues in the entire region. All of this requires confrontation, and here comes the role of the Arab leadership which has every right to defend their interests.

Rather than keeping silent about what Erdogan is doing or entering into a comprehensive confrontation with Turkey, there is a wide scope of options that the Arab people can exercise in order to mount pressure on the Turkish government to change its policies. It seems that there is a lot in the arsenal of Arab people that we may see in the coming period if the so-called caliph’s policy continues to threaten the security and stability of the entire region.

— The author Dr. Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali can be reached on Twitter: @ramialkhalifa

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