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Turkiye suspended all trade with Israel due to situation in Gaza Strip

Turkiye suspended all trade with Israel due to situation in Gaza Strip President of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (photo: Getty Images)

Turkiye has confirmed that it has suspended all trade with Israel until the country ensures an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, reports Bloomberg.

Turkiye has decided to expand last year's restrictions on certain Turkish export goods to Israel due to the escalation of the humanitarian tragedy in Palestine, according to a statement from the Turkish Ministry of Trade.

"The second phase of the measures taken at the state level has been started, and export and import transactions related to Israel have been suspended to cover all products," the statement said.

"Turkiye will firmly and decisively implement these new measures until the government of Israel allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza," the Turkish Ministry of Trade noted.

Israel's reaction

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has described Turkiye's decision as the behavior of a dictator who violates the interests of the Turkish people and business community, ignoring international trade agreements.

The Israeli government will work on creating immediate alternatives for trade with Turkiye by increasing local production and seeking other suppliers, he said.

The head of the Manufacturers Association of Israel called on the government to impose protective tariffs of 100% on all imports from Turkiye over the next three years and to consider the possibility of a complete ban on the import of certain goods.

"This is the only way for Erdogan to understand that he cannot toy with us and that his actions will have long-term consequences," said Ron Tomer, president of the Israel Manufacturers Association.

Trade volumes between Turkiye and Israel

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, in 2023, the trade turnover between the countries amounted to $6.8 billion, of which 76% was Turkish exports.

Israeli imports from Turkiye in 2023 amounted to $4.6 billion. Turkiye was the sixth largest source of imports for Israel, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel. The main imports from Turkiye were steel, machinery, minerals, and fuel, as well as food products.

Humanitarian situation in Gaza

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington may change its policy towards Israel due to the humanitarian situation and the increasing civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, where the IDF is fighting against Hamas.

Following this, on April 5, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved the opening of the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern part of the Gaza Strip for the first time since Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel on October 7.