Turkey halts trade with Israel because of the Gaza war

Turkey halts trade with Israel because of the Gaza war

Turkey has halted all import and export transactions with Israel in protest against the war in Gaza.

“All import and export transactions related to Israel, including all products, have been stopped,” Turkey’s trade ministry said in a statement Thursday. “Turkey will implement these new measures firmly and decisively until the Israeli government allows an adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

A senior Israeli government official accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of violating trade agreements “by blocking ports for Israeli imports and exports.”

“This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements,” Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said on X Thursday.

Turkish-Israeli trade was worth $7 billion last year, according to official data. Israel is among the top 20 destinations for Turkish exports, buying $5.4 billion worth of goods and services. According to Reuters, Turkey’s main exports to Israel are steel, vehicles, plastics, electrical devices and machinery.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s imports from Israel amounted to $1.6 billion.

Katz added that he had instructed the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “immediately engage with all relevant parties in the government to create alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.”

“Israel will emerge with a strong and courageous economy,” he wrote.

Thursday’s move by Turkey follows the introduction last month of restrictions on its exports to Israel after Turkey’s foreign minister accused Israel of denying requests to send aid to Gaza.

In a statement at the time, the trade ministry condemned Israel’s actions blocking access to “food, medical care and the most basic supplies” for Gazans and said it had placed a ban on the export of 54 products, including many that could be used for military or construction purposes. .

Turkey is one of the largest donors of aid to Gaza, according to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territory.

Israel launched a military offensive on Gaza on October 7 after the militant group Hamas, which governs the territory, killed at least 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 250 others. After more than 200 days of war, Israeli bombardment has turned the neighborhood into rubble, and the threat of starvation looms.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,600 Palestinians as of May 1, according to the territory’s Ministry of Health. Of those killed, about seven out of 10 were women and children, the ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the figure due to a lack of international media access.

Hamas praised Turkey’s move to stop trade with Israel.

“We greatly appreciate the recent decision made by the Republic of Turkey to support our Palestinian people who are undergoing a horrific genocide. This includes stopping trade with occupation entities,” Hamas said in a statement Friday.

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