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Turkey decides to halt trade with Israel over humanitarian crisis in Gaza | DETAILS

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Image Source : AP Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has taken a significant diplomatic step in response to Israel’s military actions in Gaza. On Thursday, the Turkish government announced the suspension of all imports and exports to Israel. This decision, outlined by the Turkish Trade Ministry, aims to pressure the Israeli government into allowing the unhindered flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The suspension covers all products and will remain in effect until Israel meets the specified conditions, as per a statement by the Turkish Trade Ministry.

Additionally, Turkish officials have pledged to work closely with Palestinian authorities to ensure that the suspension does not adversely impact the Palestinian people. The Trade Ministry described this move as the “second phase” of measures against Israel, underscoring Turkey’s commitment to addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Last month, Turkey, known for its vocal criticism of Israel’s military actions, took a firm stance by imposing restrictions on exports of 54 types of products to Israel. These restrictions included items such as aluminium, steel, construction products, and chemical fertilizers. In response, Israel announced its own trade barriers.Prior to the latest announcement regarding the suspension of all imports and exports, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, accused Turkey of obstructing Israeli imports and exports from Turkish ports. This exchange highlights the escalating tensions between the two countries over the situation in Gaza.

Trade tensions soar between Turkey and Israel

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’s stance on Israel: From recognition to legal action

It should be noted here that 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.

(With inputs from AP)

ALSO READ: Hamas unwilling to settle for temporary ceasefire in Gaza, wants permanent end to war: Sources

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