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Turkey implements trade restrictions on Israel over Gaza conflict

President Erdogan

Ankara: Turkey has announced trade restrictions on Israel in response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, stating that these measures will remain in place until Israel declares an immediate ceasefire and ensures the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid into the region.

The decision, which covers a variety of products including cement, steel, and iron construction materials, follows Israel's blocking of Turkey's attempt to airdrop aid to Gaza.

"The decision will remain in place until Israel declares a ceasefire immediately and allows adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza," Turkey's trade ministry stated on social media, attaching a list of 54 products subject to export restrictions.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan pledged reprisals against Israel for obstructing Turkey's aid efforts, asserting that these actions would be taken "step by step" and "without delay." The export measures were approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported AFP.

"We will continue our support until the bloodshed in Gaza stops and our Palestinian brothers reach a free Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Erdogan stated in a message for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

Israel's foreign ministry accused Turkey of violating trade agreements and announced plans to take appropriate steps in response.

Turkey has emerged as a vocal critic of Israel's actions in Gaza, with Erdogan condemning Israel as a "terrorist state" and alleging genocide against Palestinians. The recent conflict, which began with a Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, has resulted in significant casualties on both sides.

The trade restrictions imposed by Turkey come amid pressure on the government to sever ties with Israel. Turkish police's aggressive handling of pro-Palestinian protests has drawn criticism, leading to an investigation and suspension of two officers.

The war on Gaza has strained Turkish-Israeli relations, prompting Turkey to recall its envoy to Tel Aviv and advocate for Israeli leaders to face trial at the International Criminal Court.

Despite Erdogan's criticisms of Israel, his party suffered losses in local elections, with the opposition criticizing the government's trade relations with Israel. The opposition welcomed Turkey's export restrictions against Israel but called for a complete halt to trade.

According to data from the Turkish Exporters' Union and Turkstat, Turkey's exports to Israel decreased from $7.03 billion in 2022 to $5.43 billion last year.

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TAGS:TurkeyIsraelGazaHamasIsrael Palestine ConflictPresident Recep Tayyip ErdoganPresident Erdogan
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