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Turkey restricts exports to Israel, saying its request to airdrop aid to Gaza was denied | CNN Business

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Istanbul/London
CNN
 — 

Turkey has announced restrictions on exports to Israel after the Turkish foreign minister accused Israel of denying a request to airdrop aid to Gaza.

In a statement Tuesday, the Turkish Ministry of Trade 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.

“This decision will remain in effect until Israel, within the framework of its obligations arising from international law, declares an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and allows a sufficient and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” the ministry said.

Among the items listed in the statement are steel, aluminum, cement and electrical cables.

Speaking at a press conference in Ankara late Monday, the Turkish foreign minister said Turkey was taking “a series of new measures against Israel” after Israel had denied its request to join a Jordanian aid operation. “Today we learned that our request, which was welcomed by the Jordanian authorities, was rejected by Israel,” Hakan Fidan said.

“There is no excuse for Israel to block our attempt to airlift aid to starving Gazans,” he continued.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the agency that controls access to Gaza, has not responded to CNN’s request for comment on Turkey’s allegations.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “once again sacrificing the economic interests of the people of Turkey for his support of Hamas.”

Katz said he had ordered Israel’s foreign ministry to prepare an “extensive list” of Turkish products that Israel would ban in response. Israel will also ask the United States and other allies to “stop investments in Turkey and prevent the import of products from Turkey.” Furthermore, it will appeal to the US Congress to “impose sanctions accordingly.”

“Israel will not submit to violence and blackmail and will not keep quiet about the unilateral violation of the trade agreements,” Katz said.

Along with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey is the biggest donor of aid to Gaza, according to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

In the view of Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the newly announced export curbs do not go far enough. In a statement Tuesday, the CHP criticized the Turkish government for continuing to trade with Israel despite publicly condemning its attacks on Gaza.

“We call on the government to immediately stop doing business with a country that supports … attacks on Gaza and turns a blind eye to injustice and oppression,” Volkan Demir, CHP’s deputy chairman of trade policies, said in the statement.

Lauren Izso in Tel Aviv and Anna Cooban in London contributed to this article.

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