Turkey halts trade with Israel over Gaza war

Turkey halts trade with Israel over Gaza war
  • PublishedMay 4, 2024

Turkey has halted all import and export transactions with Israel in protest over 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 strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

A senior member of Israel’s government accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of breaking 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 posted on X Thursday.

Turkey-Israel trade was worth $7 billion last year, according to official data. Israel was among the top 20 destinations for Turkish exports, buying goods and services worth $5.4 billion. According to Reuters, top Turkish 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 ordered 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 daring economy,” he wrote.

Thursday’s measures by Turkey follow the introduction last month of restrictions on its exports to Israel after the Turkish foreign minister accused Israel of denying a request to airdrop aid to Gaza.

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

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

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

Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 34,600 Palestinians as of May 1, according to the territory’s Ministry of Health. Of those killed, about seven in 10 are women and children, the ministry said. CNN cannot independently confirm the figures due to the lack of international media access.

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

“We highly appreciate the decisions recently made by the Republic of Turkey in support of our Palestinian people who are undergoing a horrific genocide. These include ceasing trade with the occupying entity,” Hamas said in a statement Friday.


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