Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel Amid Escalating Gaza Crisis

Turkey suspends all exports and imports to and from Israel, citing the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The move follows Turkey's imposition of trade restrictions on Israel last month, accusing the country of obstructing Ankara's participation in Gaza aid airdrops.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel Amid Escalating Gaza Crisis

Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel Amid Escalating Gaza Crisis

Turkey has suspended all exports and imports to and from Israel, citing theescalating humanitarian crisisin Gaza. The Turkish Ministry of Trade announced the decision on Thursday, May 2, 2024, when the trade volume between the two nations reached $6.8 billion in 2023.

Why this matters: The suspension of trade between Turkey and Israel has significant implications for the global economy and regional politics, as it may trigger a ripple effect on trade relations between other nations. Moreover, this move may exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, leading to further instability in the Middle East.

The ministry's statement was unequivocal: "Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products. Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli Government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza."

This move follows Turkey's imposition of trade restrictions on Israel last month, accusing the country of obstructing Ankara's participation in Gaza aid airdrops and its military actions in the region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously stated that Turkey no longer engages in "intense trade" with Israel but stopped short of confirming a complete halt in trade relations.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz swiftly responded to Turkey's decision, accusing Erdogan of violating agreements by obstructing Israeli imports and exports from ports. Katz stated, "This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements." He has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explore alternative trade options with Turkey, focusing on domestic production and imports from other nations.

The suspension of trade between Turkey and Israel is likely to deepen the tensions between the two formerly close allies, which have deteriorated since the start of the crisis in Gaza. The crisis began on October 7, when Hamas militants killed an estimated 1,136 Israeli citizens and took about 250 people hostage. In response, Israel has sent soldiers into Gaza and bombarded the territory, resulting in a significant humanitarian crisis.

Turkey recognized Israel in 1949, but relations have ebbed and flowed between the countries under Erdogan's leadership. The Turkish president has been a vocal critic of Israel's military actions, accusing it of carrying out war crimes and genocide. Erdogan's government is facing intense domestic pressure to halt trade with Israel, with critics accusing the government of engaging in double standards.

The decision to suspend trade has sparked concerns among Israeli businesses. Dr. Ron Tomer, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI), stated that the government's response has been insufficient. A senior industry source criticized the government's approach, saying, "The government is still captive to a 'conception' on this issue, instead of understanding what is happening, they have repeatedly downplayed the event."

Israel's economy and finance ministries have decided to wait until after the holidays to see if Turkey will carry out the threat. However, some senior officials believe that economic interests will prevail, and the matter will be forgotten after Eid al-Fitr and Passover. The trade suspension's impact on the strained relations between Turkey and Israel and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains to be seen.

Key Takeaways

  • Turkey suspends all exports and imports to and from Israel due to Gaza humanitarian crisis.
  • Trade volume between Turkey and Israel was $6.8 billion in 2023.
  • Turkey demands uninterrupted humanitarian aid to Gaza before resuming trade.
  • Israel accuses Turkey of violating agreements and ignoring international trade rules.
  • Suspension deepens tensions between Turkey and Israel, with economic implications.