LOS ANGELES – Amid recent unprovoked attacks on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia from Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenian owned grocery stores and chains have decided to stop carrying products imported from Turkey.
Among them is JONS Fresh Marketplace, with a dozen stores encompassing the greater southern California region.
On October 1, store employees were seen removing goods labelled “product of Turkey” from store shelves.
“Recently, our Board of Directors reviewed and discussed the effects of the escalated Armenia and Azerbaijan conflict,” said JONS President Jack Berberian.
“Although JONS Fresh Marketplace is a corporation with no political affiliation, we do make decisions with the benefit of the communities we serve in mind. As a result, JONS Fresh Marketplace has decided to remove items labeled as ‘Product of Turkey’ from our shelves. JONS is sensitive to the conflict, and we feel this is the best decision for our communities and our employees,” added Berberian.
Another large Armenian owned supermarket chain, Super King Market, with eight stores throughout Southern California, has been reported to remove Turkish products from shelves. A store mananger in Orange County confirmed the move. The corporate office has not provided an official confirmation of their corporate policy towards products made in Turkey.
A representative from Kradjian Imports, which supplies a large number of goods carried in Armenian owned markets in the region, stated that there isn’t a single brand that sells items exclusively from Turkey.
“The best thing for consumers to do is check the label on each item they are purchasing,” the representative said. “If the label says ‘product of Turkey’ then don’t buy it. There are brands that have items that are made in Turkey and other items of the same brand made in other countries. We cannot exclude a brand entirely because one or two of their items come from Turkey.”
On an international level, there has been a wide-scale ban of Turkish goods and services, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Greece. Turkish media in July reported that the purchasing of Turkish products and trade with Ankara has been banned in Saudi Arabia and the government has imposed penalties for anyone violating the order.
Likewise in Greece, businesses launched a campaign to boycott goods and services from Turkey, in the wake of President Erdogan’s July declaration that the historic Saint Sophia Cathedral will be converted into a mosque.