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Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan (Photo Credit: Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban Turkish products comes into force this week in a bid to deal a blow to Turkey’s already crippled economy, the Cumhuriyet daily said on Sunday.

Riyadh has laid an unofficial embargo on Turkish goods, including textiles and perishable food, last year.

The Saudis have been keeping hundreds of Turkish trucks at the Saudi border and thousands of packages from Turkey in their airports. The trucks were allowed into the country only after an intervention by Turkish diplomats in the kingdom.

In 2017, when a Saudi-led bloc cut ties with neighbouring Qatar, mainly for its support of the Brotherhood, Ankara supported Doha economically and militarily. Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey remain fraught after a political crisis between the two countries erupted over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, prompting Saudi business groups including the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry have called for a complete boycott on Turkish products.

Saudi authorities have been putting pressure on local businesses not to trade with Turkey and its industries. The Turkish newspaper Dunya reported that the Saudi government has contacted individual businesses and ordered them not to trade with Turkish companies or buy any products made in Turkey. The government said it would impose fines on any company that ignores the order.

“Our customers got used to Turkish products, they are satisfied. However, they cannot buy our goods anymore. They say send them to us via a third country,” Cumhuriyet cited a Turkish businessman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as saying.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are very anxious, especially as exports from southeastern provinces such as Hatay, Gaziantep and Diyarbakır come to a halt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has launched a campaign to discourage its citizens from travelling to Turkey.

The kingdom’s media has designated Turkey as an unsafe location due to rising petty crime aimed at Saudi citizens and gun violence, while the Saudi embassy in Ankara has also warned of rising violence aimed at Saudi citizens. The number of Saudi tourists coming to Turkey has dropped 17 percent last year.