Turkey says it halts trade with Israel over Gaza aid access

Turkey’s Ministry of Trade cites humanitarian crisis in Gaza for its decision to suspend imports and exports.

Palestinian children gather to receive meals from the charity World Central Kitchen in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, on May 1
Palestinians gather to receive food meals cooked by World Central Kitchen (WCK) after the charity resumed operations, in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza [Ramadan Abed/Reuters]

Turkey has halted exports and imports to and from Israel, the Turkish Ministry of Trade says, citing the “worsening humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza.

“Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

“Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli Government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

The announcement came after Israel’s foreign minister said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was breaking agreements by blocking ports from handling Israeli imports and exports.

“This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements,” Israel Katz posted on X.

Katz said he instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work to create alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.

The two countries had a trade volume of $6.8bn in 2023.

Turkey last month imposed trade restrictions on Israel over what it said was Israel’s refusal to allow Ankara to take part in airdrops of aid for Gaza and for Israel’s war on the enclave.

Asked about Turkey’s ongoing trade with Israel despite the harsh rhetoric from Ankara, Erdogan said last month that Turkey no longer continued “intense trade” with Israel, adding, “That is done.” He did not indicate Ankara had cut off all trade with Israel, however.

Source: News Agencies