Saudi Arabia’s(KSA) local burger chain, Herfy, changes the name of ‘Turkish Burger’ to ‘Greek Burger’ as part of the Kingdom’s tacit boycott of Turkish products, reported Bloomberg on Thursday. The rising political tensions between KSA and Turkey triggered the spurn of Turkish products in the Kingdom.
The local food chain, besides changing the name also reduced the price of the burger. The burger is served with a beef patty and a sauce but it has nothing related to Turkey, not even the ingredients, except the name was used for the branding of the product by the food chain.
The tensions also hit #Saudi restaurants, with fast food chain Herfy saying it was replacing its "#Turkish" beef burger with an identical "Greek" one as part of its "duty towards our great homeland"https://t.co/Pw3ojL5wRo
— Anuj Chopra (@AnujChopra) October 22, 2020
إيماناً منا بواجبنا تجاه وطننا العظيم، نوضح التالي: 🇸🇦#حملة_مقاطعة_المنتجات_التركية pic.twitter.com/aFacdmZGi0
— هرفي (@HerfyFSC) October 18, 2020
The move came after tensions flared up between the two countries, once again, this week. “It’s the same thing,” Herfy employee Mahmood Bassyoni reassured a customer with a smile, offering a spoonful of the burger’s spicy sauce to taste. “Just the name changed.”
Read more: Saudi business leaders ask citizens to boycott everything Turkish
However, the swift change in the menu of the local food chain tells about the existence and intensity of the campaign calling for the boycott of Turkish products within KSA.
KSA: Calls to boycott Turkish products
Earlier this month, the head of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce has called for a boycott of Turkish products amid reports from merchants that animosity between Ankara and Riyadh is hindering the flow of goods between the two regional powers. The Chamber of commerce chief says that this decision has been taken in a response to the continued hostility of the Turkish government.
“A boycott of everything Turkish, be it imports, 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, country, and citizens,” said businessman Ajlan Al-Ajlan.
Not much was Turkish about Herfy’s “Turkish Burger” besides the branding — an Ottoman fez over a black mustache — but that hasn't stopped the sandwich from getting caught up in a geopolitical storm https://t.co/JQaDy1IRZy
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) October 22, 2020
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over foreign policy issues and, more specifically, over the question of the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in Saudi’s Istanbul consulate in 2018. This murder escalated tensions sharply.
Read more: Op-ed: Saudi gestures signal kingdom’s endorsement of Arab rapprochement with Israel
Notably, the Saudi Chambers of Commerce is a non-government group of private sector business people which represents business interests in the regions where they exist.
The development has been seen as the latest attempt to create more hostility between the two regional powers. Dawn, Pakistan’s respected English language newspaper, reported that the Saudi government’s communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The international observers believe Turkey might face more-than-anticipated consequences after losing its share in the Middle East’s largest economy. They have warned Turkey to tone down its hardened policies against Kingdom.
A few days, ago, an international retail brand, Mango, having its retail stores in KSA and manufacturing facilities in Turkey, is seeking other alternatives to set up its manufacturing plants. Economists have commented that the ongoing trade war between KSA and Turkey would bring cause job losses and unemployment at a time when pandemic coronavirus has already hit hard the economies worldwide and countries are struggling to recover from the economic slowdown.
Stop traveling to Turkey
Besides boycotting the Turkish good, the Saudi activists are also calling for people to stop traveling to Turkey under the garb of nationalism.
The government-sided social media influencers with large followings on their social media accounts also pushed for the boycott of Turkish products last week. They have even issued a logo for the campaign, reported Bloomberg.
“A true citizen doesn’t wait for a decision from the government,” Salman Aldosary, a pro-government Saudi columnist.
Saudi Arabia’s leading supermarket chains like Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. and Tamimi Markets have also announced to join the boycott, announced that from now on they will not be keeping Turkish products in their stores.
According to the statistics, Saudi Arabia is Turkey’s 15th biggest export market. Exports mainly include carpets, textiles, steel, chemical, and other things.
GVS News Desk