Queue at Iraqi border hits Turkish exports hard
HABUR/ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
The trade route between Turkey and Iraq has gained great importance for Turkish exporters amid Syria’s civil war, but exporters face problems. AA PhotoA 50-kilometer-long truck queue at the Habur border gate between Turkey and northern Iraq has badly hit Turkish exporters, especially chocolate and candy distributors, sector representatives have said.
Trucks have been kept waiting at the frontier for days, causing huge damage to the export goods, they said, adding that this was mainly caused by the hostile inclinations toward both the Turkish government and Turkish goods.
The trade route between Turkey and Iraq gained great importance for Turkish exporters after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war, but exporters now say they have problems with the Iraqi border as well.
“One of our companies which exports candies to Iraq has recently been suffering. I think this all about politics. Some people want to undermine Turkey’s exports and the Turkish economy,” said the head of the Istanbul Cereals and Oilseed Exporters Association, Zekeriya Mete, adding that they were also facing problems with Israel and Egypt.
“Some 100 trucks of one Turkish company have been kept waiting at the Habur gate for days. This problem should be solved immediately,” he said.
Some 750 million dollars’ worth of Turkish goods are waiting at the gate, said another businessman.
“The problem is completely caused by the Baghdad government’s hostility toward Turkish goods. Iraqi officials claim our goods include lard oil,” said the chairman of Saadet Gıda, Sübet Çiçek.
Çiçek said the company exports goods to over 65 countries.
“Some Iraqi people want to hit Turkey’s exports. Our 27 trucks are being kept waiting at the Habur gate at the moment; the truck queues have reached all the way to the [neighboring district of] Cizre. There are many robbers and burglars around there. We have lost around $1 billion worth of export revenues,” he said.
He said some 650 tons of the company had been at the gate for days.
“Many trucks have been kept waiting at the border gate for 18 days. We want our Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to take action,” he said.
Around 2,000 trucks use to pass over the border on a daily basis in the past, but only 800 trucks are able to do so now, said another businessman.
“Turkey has lost a lot. Our business has been cut when we should be earning the highest due to the seasonal conditions,” said the chairman of Elvan Gıda, Hidayet Kadiroğlu.