HomeWorldTurkey confirms it's halting trade with Israel because of war in Gaza

Turkey confirms it’s halting trade with Israel because of war in Gaza


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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

Turkey on Thursday suspended all imports and exports to Israel citing the country’s ongoing military action in Gaza and vowed to continue to impose the measures until the Israeli government allows the flow of humanitarian aid to the region.

A Turkish Trade Ministry statement said export and import transactions in relation to Israel have been stopped, covering all products.

Turkish officials would coordinate with Palestinian authorities to ensure that Palestinians are not affected by the suspension of imports and exports, the ministry said.

The ministry described the step as the second phase of measures against Israel, adding that the steps would remain in force until Israel allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Last month, Turkey a staunch critic of Israel’s military actions announced that it was restricting exports of 54 types of products to Israel, including aluminum, steel, construction products and chemical fertilizers. Israel responded by also announcing trade barriers.

Earlier on Thursday, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Turkey of blocking Israeli imports and exports from Turkish ports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is breaking agreements by blocking ports for Israeli imports and exports, Katz wrote on the social platform X.

Katz said he had instructed officials 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.

Erdogan’s government, which suffered major setbacks in local elections in March, is faced with intense pressure at home to halt trade with Israel. Critics accuse the government of engaging in double standards by levelling strong accusations against Israel while pressing ahead with commercial relations.

Turkey recognised Israel in 1949. Under Erdogan, tensions have ebbed and flowed between the countries. The Turkish leader stepped up his criticism of Israel following its military offensive in Gaza, accusing it of carrying out war crimes and genocide. He has described the Hamas militant group, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union, as freedom fighters.

This week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Turkey had decided to join the legal case filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice and would soon submit a formal request to intervene in the case.

South Africa filed a case at the ICJ accusing Israel of breaching the Genocide Convention with its military offensive against Hamas. Israel denies that its military campaign in Gaza amounts to a breach of the Genocide Convention.

First Published: May 03 2024 | 6:51 AM IST

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