Erdogan Halts Trade with Israel to Force Gaza Ceasefire

Turkish President Erdogan announced the suspension of trade with Israel to pressure the government to declare a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The move halts a $9.5 billion annual trade exchange, aiming to allow humanitarian aid to reach the affected population.

Safak Costu
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Erdogan Halts Trade with Israel to Force Gaza Ceasefire

Erdogan Halts Trade with Israel to Force Gaza Ceasefire

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed members of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association in Istanbul on Friday, discussing Türkiye's decision to suspend trade with Israel. Erdogan stated that the sole purpose of this move is to force the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to declare a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

"Our sole purpose is to force the (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government, which has sprung out of control due to the West's unconditional support, to a cease-fire," Erdogan said. He added,"We are well aware of how theWest will attack usdue to our trade restrictions against Israel."

Why this matters: This move by Erdogan has significant implications for the ongoing conflict in Gaza, as it puts pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to reach the affected population. The suspension of trade between Türkiye and Israel could also set a precedent for other countries to take similar actions, potentially leading to increased international pressure on Israel to resolve the conflict.

Türkiye's Trade Ministry announced on Thursday that Ankara had suspended all export and import operations with Israel due to its "aggression against Palestine in violation of international law and human rights." The trade volume between Türkiye and Israel amounts to approximately $9.5 billion. Erdogan emphasized that his government "closed that door" on trade with Israel amid the ongoing onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli war on Gaza has resulted in at least 34,622 Palestinians killed, mostly women and children, and 77,867 injured since October 7, according to Palestinian health authorities. The conflict has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement, with acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Erdogan criticized Western nations for supporting Netanyahu's government, saying that they would "attack" Türkiye over its decision to suspend trade with Israel. The Turkish president emphasized that his country does not pursue hostility or conflict with any country in the region, and instead seeks calm and a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. "When a cease-fire is reached and sufficient aid is allowed into Gaza, our goal will be fulfilled. Türkiye's move will set an example for other countries," Erdogan stated.

The latest round of the conflict started after the Palestinian resistance group Hamas' attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to Israel. Erdogan has frequently warned of a spillover of conflict and has urged restraint amid regional tensions.

Türkiye's decision to halt trade with Israel until a permanent cease-fire is secured in Gaza and unhindered humanitarian aid is allowed into the territory marks a significant step in pressuring Israel to end its military campaign. With a bilateral goods exchange of nearly $9.5 billion a year, Türkiye becomes the first of Israel's key trade partners to suspend exports and imports over the conflict. As the Gaza Strip suffers a dire humanitarian crisis, with warnings of impending famine from the UN and aid agencies, Erdogan's move aims to force Israel to agree to a cease-fire and allow increased aid to reach the Palestinian people.

Key Takeaways

  • Turkish President Erdogan suspends trade with Israel to force Gaza cease-fire.
  • Türkiye's trade with Israel amounts to $9.5 billion, making it a significant economic pressure.
  • At least 34,622 Palestinians killed, 77,867 injured in Gaza conflict since October 7.
  • Erdogan criticizes Western nations for supporting Israel, vows to set example for other countries.
  • Türkiye's move aims to allow unhindered humanitarian aid into Gaza, end military campaign.