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Turkiye imposes export restrictions on Israel until Gaza ceasefire

April 9, 2024 at 10:15 am

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan holds a press conference at ministry building in Ankara, Turkiye on April 08, 2024 [Güven Yılmaz/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye will restrict exports of a wide range of products to Israel, including steel and jet fuel, until a ceasefire is declared in Gaza, the Turkish Trade Ministry announced today, in Ankara’s first significant measure against Israel after six months of war, Reuters reports.

Turkiye has denounced Israel for its brutal bombing campaign on Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire, supporting steps to try Israel for genocide, and sent thousands of tonnes of aid for Gazans.

However, Ankara also maintained commercial ties with Israel despite its strong rhetoric, prompting a domestic backlash.

In a statement following Ankara’s announcement that it would be taking measures after Israel rejected its request to take part in an aid air-drop, the ministry said the restrictions would take effect today.

It said the measures would apply to the export of products from 54 different categories, including iron, marble, steel, cement, aluminium, brick, fertiliser, construction equipment and products, aviation fuel and more.

Turkish Trade Ministry’s restrictions with Israel over the Gaza onslaught, cover the export of 54 product groups ranging from structural iron to flat steel, marble and ceramics [Efnan İpşir – Anadolu Agency]

“This decision will remain in place until Israel, under its obligations emanating from international law, urgently declares a ceasefire in Gaza and allows the unhindered flow of sufficient humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip,” it said.

READ: Turkiye to rebuild Gaza if ceasefire is achieved, Erdogan says

Shortly after Israel launched its war on Gaza, Turkiye and Israel pulled back their ambassadors. Today’s move is the first significant measure taken by Ankara against Tel Aviv since the start of the conflict. President Tayyip Erdogan has faced growing criticism over his government’s commercial ties to Israel.

Police detained scores of protestors demanding an end to the trade with Israel in Istanbul on Saturday. Authorities suspended two police officers involved in the incident, as the government works to restore popular support after a thumping opposition win in local elections last month.

Erdogan’s stance toward Israel and the conflict in Gaza was a key factor for some of his party’s losses in the vote, with the Islamist New Welfare Party (Yeniden Refah) increasing its support on the back of a more hardline stance on Gaza.

According to the data published by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), while trade with Israel has fallen since 7 October, exports to Israel have increased each month in 2024 so far, and were worth $423.2 million in March.

Total exports in the first quarter of the year amounted to $1.1 billion, down 21.6 per cent year-on-year, TIM data showed.