Campaign to boycott Turkish products gains momentum

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A poster at a shop in Madinah announces its boycott of all Turkish products. (Supplied)
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Eid Alanazi Asadhan Group CEO
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Updated 18 October 2020

Campaign to boycott Turkish products gains momentum

  • ‘It’s a message from the Saudi people to reject Ankara’s interventions and hostility toward the countries of the region’

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The popular campaign boycotting Turkish products in Saudi Arabia has gained further momentum over the past few days, attracting the support of commentators and businesses.  

“Turkish political mess-ups and interference in countries of the Middle East is the real reason behind this popular boycott of Turkish products,” said Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar.
“Turkish President Erdogan changed his previous policy of minimizing Turkish problems and instead exported it to the outside. Turkey has been threatening the region just as Iran is, using terrorist militias, spreading them in the countries of the region and by their support for the Brotherhood, which is classified as a terrorist organization in many countries of the world. This constitutes a regional security threat to the Arab countries and the Gulf states directly, especially with Turkey’s exploitation of the Qatari crisis and the continuous auctions of the Palestinian cause.”
Dr. Al-Shehri said that the popular boycott of Turkish products was a message from the Saudi people and others who were in solidarity with the campaign to reject Turkish interventions and Turkish hostility toward the countries of the region, such as their interference in the issue of the rotation of the Two Holy Mosques and interventions in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Turkish political mess-ups and interference in countries of the Middle East is the real reason behind this popular boycott of Turkish products.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar

Dr. Al-Shehri said that the boycott would have a major role in influencing the global economic crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which proved both Erdogan’s mismanagement in dealing with the pandemic and the great weakness of the Turkish lira.
The popular boycott is also supported by local companies.
Alsadhan Group, one of the oldest stores in Riyadh, has expressed its support for the campaign. Its CEO, Eid Alanazi, told Arab News that it was not reasonable for society to buy and sell Turkish products when Turkey had shown clear enmity toward the Kingdom and its leadership.
In a statement to Arab News, Alsadhan Group stressed that it supported the community efforts boycotting all Turkish products, adding that Alsahdan Trading Company and SPAR Stores, which are subsidiaries of the group, did not import any goods directly from Turkey. The statement said that the group’s top management had instructed Alsadhan and SPAR supermarkets to stop selling Turkish products.
Alsadhan Group will continue to support any national efforts that serve the religion, the king and the country, and would not tolerate any attempts aiming to bring harm to the country and Saudis, the statement said.
Alanazi said that it was important to boycott all Turkish products because Turkey has shown its enmity to the Kingdom. He said that it was the duty of each citizen to boycott the products of any country that did not respect the Kingdom and the Saudi leadership. Boycotting was as efficient as any other weapon that could be used to protect the Kingdom, he said.
Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets announced on Friday that it would stop imports from Turkey. “To all our customers, we have directed all concerned departments to stop importing products from Turkey and purchasing Turkish products from local suppliers and also to get rid of the Turkish product inventory at all our branches and not make any new orders for these products. This decision has been taken to support the popular boycott campaign and because we believe it is a national duty and also a response to the Turkish government’s practices against our precious country,” the statement said.
Khaled Al-Matrafi, a renowned Saudi journalist, said this was a popular social campaign, not a government boycott.

At the end of the day, it is up to what people think and what they like or not. Even President Trump cannot interfere in what Americans want to buy, whether they want a Huawei or an iPhone.

Khaled Al-Matrafi, a renowned Saudi journalist

“At the end of the day, it is up to what people think and what they like or not. Even President Trump cannot interfere in what Americans want to buy, whether they want a Huawei or an iPhone. Advanced countries give their people freedom of choice in terms of what one wants to eat, drink, wear or drive. It’s a private freedom. We are not at war to boycott Turkey; besides, there are many Saudi investments in Turkey despite the fact that some Turkish officials do not speak with respect about the Kingdom and Saudis,” he said.
“The Kingdom is a wise country and does not interfere in what people think or want. However, the Kingdom’s security is a red line that should not be crossed. The Kingdom only targeted Iran when Iran started to threaten the Kingdom’s security,” he said.
“If anyone is still not convinced this is a popular boycott, they can visit any of the Turkish restaurants or coffee shops and see with their own eyes how these places are open to everyone who wants to visit them,” Al-Matrafi said.
Mubarak Al-Aati, a Saudi writer and analyst, said that an increasing number of Saudi people have called for the boycotting of Turkish products and these voices had formed a strong and tangible economic move that reflected on the Turkish economy, which was collapsing.
“The boycott calls reflect a national unity from Saudis against the hostile actions of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey and President Erdogan. Saudi people are sending a message to the Turkish government that the security and image of the Kingdom and the leadership is a red line. The Saudi people have shown that they are close to their leadership. The boycott is a weapon Saudi people are using against the risks of foreign interference including the Turkish interference, which is categorically rejected by all Saudis without exception,” he said.
Adnan Alaslami, a Saudi national, said that he fully supported the popular boycott of Turkish products and that there were alternative local products as good as Turkish ones. Saudi investors should take advantage of the boycott and go to neighboring countries and import products from there instead of Turkish products, he said. This was a good chance for them to diversify the products in local markets and end any monopolistic activities.
“I pray to Allah the Almighty to protect our country and continue bestowing on us the blessing of security and safety under the leaderships of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the crown prince,” he said.

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

Updated 27 November 2020

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

JEDDAH: The two-day Step Saudi 2020 event featured two prominent Saudi figures in the field of investment on the second day.
Hashim Al-Awadi, CEO of Tech Invest, and Salman Jaffery, chief investment officer at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, both shared their expertise, with the latter saying it is more beneficial for corporations to start a venture capital (VC) arm than invest from their current mergers and acquisitions arm (M&A).
Managing partner at Class 5 Global, Zach Finkelstein, who moderated the session on the second day of the event, said the San Francisco-based venture fund invested in a number of companies in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is particularly interesting to us, and in the past, our partners have invested in such regional companies as Careem. We’re excited to explore the development of the corporate VC space and how it can impact places like Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked why a corporation should start a VC arm instead of investing from an M&A team, and why have a separate corporate Venture Capital arm in the first place, Jaffery answered that “it brings faster results.”
“I think the easiest answer to that is just speed and agility,” he said. “Getting that response quickly to the market. VC deals can take weeks or months whereas an M&A transaction can take up to a year or longer, and also similarly, if you’re trying to then come out of it, it’s harder to come out of a joint venture agreement or an M&A as opposed to a VC.”
Al-Awadi explained his opinion a traditional VC perspective, and said: “We like the fact that corporations can invest from both their M&A arms and their VC arms if they have them.”
He highlighted that VC arms can invest in a greater variety of companies. “You have the intelligence, you know the market and if you’re looking at specific technology where we don’t have a lot of expertise we trust that you (other venture capitalists) know the market and you can evaluate that technology better to see if it has the capability and potential for growth or not.
“Eventually, you do have an M&A arm that will provide an exit for us, for an incentive for this company to work hard to grasp the intention after having been invested in by the VC arm of this big corporate to maybe look into making a partial agreement or complete acquisition, which really adds an incentive for the company to grow and attracts other investors and also attracts talent to join the company and help it grow even more.”
He said both the VC and M&A arm are important for company growth. “We tend to look at corporate investors through both arms as complementary to what we do when we have both of them around.”
The Kingdom has obtained a high reputation among investors internationally through the years, especially after the economic and social reforms of Saudi Vision 2030.
Step Saudi is home to the Kingdom’s best entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and digital enthusiasts. The last edition of Step Saudi featured four content tracks, more than 100 startups and over 1,500 attendees.