Squeezing oranges in protest

Turkish sanctions against the Netherlands?

The sanctions announced by Turkish President Erdoğan against the Netherlands in response to the events of the past weekend, when The Netherlands denied entry to two Turkish Ministers who wanted to campaign on behalf of President Erdoğan, appear to be mostly political. It is expected that economic damage will remain limited.

Ankara has broken off diplomatic relations with the Netherlands. The ambassador, who was already in the Netherlands last weekend, is no longer welcome in Turkey for now. Diplomatic flights are banned. And a treaty of friendship between the countries might be revoked. Relations between the two countries have cooled to far below freezing. According to various sources, Turkey is also threatening to suspend the refugee deal with Europe.

Source: Twitter DemokratHaber

Economic sanctions
There are no economic sanctions as yet. The effectiveness of sanctions is disputed at a scientific level. Yet countries can hit each other hard with economic measures, as became apparent after the Russian boycott which affected Europe, and Turkey last year. The impact of economic sanctions is very dependent on the economic relationship between the countries.

The Netherlands exported a total of 5.37 billion euro in goods last year. These were mostly chemical products, medicine, plastics, machinery and electronics. Turkey’s imports amounted to 2.8 billion euro, mostly consisting of fish and shellfish, fruit and vegetables, oil products, textiles and clothing. Although part of this export flow concerns transit, Turkey is good for about one per cent of Dutch trade.

In addition to the goods, there is the import and export of services, worth 772 million and 975 million euro in 2015. An important part of this trade is tourism. Last year, after a failed coup attempt, the number of bookings to Turkey decreased by 30 per cent. Tourism is an important sector for Turkey.

Fresh produce trade with Turkey
The Dutch trade in fruit and vegetables with Turkey shows large differences. According to figures from Comtrade, the import and export of vegetables was practically balanced in 2015. The Netherlands exported 17.6 million dollars to Turkey. Imports amounted to 16.2 million dollars. The balance for fruit trade shows an even larger difference. The Netherlands imported fruit worth 127.9 million dollars in 2015. Exports remained at 6.2 million dollars.

EvoFenedex, an advocate for 15,000 companies in the logistical and export sector, is not very worried yet. “Turkey has an association treaty with the EU, and it therefore cannot implement economic sanctions that would affect just the Netherlands,” the organisation responded in the Volkskrant. Naturally, consumers can turn against Dutch products.

Protests and lawsuits
Members of the Turkish AKP, President Erdoğan’s party, expressed their displeasure about the Dutch actions of last weekend by squeezing oranges, or stabbing them with kitchen knives. The only link between the orange and the Netherlands appears to be the orange colour of the fruit.

The Turkish government also wants to file complaints with the UN, the Council of Europe and OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe). Yesterday, the Turkish government announced it would go to the European Court of Human Rights.

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