Saudi fast food chain replaces Turkish burger with 'Greek' patty as diplomatic tensions escalate

Saudi fast food chain replaces Turkish burger with 'Greek' patty as diplomatic tensions escalate
As Saudi businesses move to boycott Turkish products, one Saudi fast food chain has decided to get petty over a patty.
3 min read
23 October, 2020
Saudis have faced calls to 'boycott everything Turkish' [Getty]

As relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia further deteriorate, one fast food restaurant’s decision to rebrand its Turkish burger Greek was both petty and the perfect representation of the latest political quagmire.

Saudi fast-food restaurant Herfy’s replaced its "Turkish Burger" with an identical beef patty it called "Greek Burger", at a discounted price.

"It’s the same thing," Herfy employee Mahmood Bassyoni said. “Just the name changed,” he added to Bloomberg.

Herfy isn’t the only business that has moved to boycott Turkish products.

Turkish exporters of textiles and other goods are complaining of inordinate delays at Saudi customs, and warning that Riyadh's attempts to block the imports could disrupt global supply chains.

After a recent call from the head of the Saudi chamber of commerce to "boycott everything Turkish", multiple supermarkets announced they were stopping the import and sale of Turkish products.

"This decision has come in solidarity with the popular boycott campaign," one of them, Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets, said on Twitter.

Some retail chains said they would continue selling the goods until current stocks were exhausted.

But at one Riyadh supermarket, an AFP correspondent saw salesmen scrambling to clear entire shelves of products made in Turkey, such as coffee, chocolates and jars of pickled vegetables.

Egyptian-made feta sat on a refrigerated shelf marked for Turkish cheese.

"This is a very sensitive matter," the country manager of the retail chain told AFP, requesting anonymity and declining to discuss the fate of the removed products.

Relations between the two countries broke down following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

Khashoggi was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate and his body was dismembered and disposed of by a team of Saudis allegedly directed by right-hand men of the crown prince.

After global expressions of outrage over the case and pressure from the United States and Turkey, 13 Saudis were tried in Riyadh and sentenced to stiff prison terms.

But two top royal aides, deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court's media chief Saud al-Qahtani, were exonerated, despite links to the murder.

Suing for justice

The fiancee of journalist Jamal Khashoggi sued Saudi Arabia's crown prince and other officials Tuesday in a US court, seeking damages for his brutal murder.

Turkish citizen Hatice Cengiz and the human rights group Khashoggi formed before his death, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), is pursuing Mohammed bin Salman and 28 others for damages over the October 2, 2018 killing of the US-based writer.

Cengiz claims personal injury and financial losses over Khashoggi's death, while DAWN said its operations and objectives were hampered by the loss of its founder and central figure.

"The ruthless torture and murder of Mr. Khashoggi shocked the conscience of people throughout the world," the suit said.

"The objective of the murder was clear – to halt Mr. Khashoggi's advocacy in the United States, principally as the executive director of plaintiff DAWN, for democratic reform in the Arab world."

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected