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Middle East crisis: Türkiye cites situation in Gaza as reason to interrupt trade with Israel


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently met with Hamas officials in Istanbul.Credit…Adem Altan/AFP — Getty Images

Turkey said late Thursday it had halted all trade with Israel until “uninterrupted and adequate humanitarian aid is allowed to enter Gaza,” signaling a further deterioration in relations between the two countries.

Turkish Trade Ministry stated a statement Import and export of “all products” will be suspended. On Friday, Trade Minister Omar Borat said the suspension would remain in place until Israel stops bombing Gaza.

“All import and export trade with Israel will be suspended until a permanent ceasefire is achieved and uninterrupted humanitarian aid is allowed into Gaza,” Borat said at a press conference announcing the monthly trade figures.

This move was initially According to Bloombergprompting Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to lash out at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“This is how a dictator behaves, ignoring the interests of the Turkish people and business people and ignoring international trade agreements,” Katz said. Posts on social media. Katz added that he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to create alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.

According to United Nations data, Turkey’s exports to Israel in 2023 were worth $5.4 billion, while imports were worth $1.64 billion.

Erdogan has not commented publicly on any changes in Turkey’s trade relations with Israel. But the Turkish leader has strongly criticized Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which began after Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people and left about 240 injured. kidnapping. Israeli bombardment of the area has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to regional health officials.

Turkish leaders have also vigorously defended Hamas and met with the group’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas officials in Istanbul on April 20. Erdogan told reporters at the time that “Israel will definitely pay a price for the atrocities it has committed.” It will one day harm the Palestinians. “

Turkey’s trade ministry imposed export restrictions on 54 product groups, including cement and aviation fuel, on April 9 and said the restrictions would remain in effect until “Israel declares an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.” “

The trade ministry defined Thursday’s suspension as “the second step in intergovernmental measures” and noted that the “Palestinian humanitarian tragedy continues to worsen.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also announced on Wednesday that Turkey would join South Africa in its genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.in a initial decision In January, the court ordered Israel to ensure its troops do not commit genocide in Gaza.

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