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Turkey Halts Commerce With Israel Amid Deteriorating Relations

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Turkey mentioned late Thursday that it had halted all commerce with Israel till “uninterrupted and sufficient humanitarian help is allowed into Gaza,” signaling additional deterioration in relations between the 2 international locations.

Turkey’s Commerce Ministry mentioned in a statement that exports and imports “for all merchandise” would pause. On Friday, the commerce minister, Omer Bolat, mentioned that the suspension would stay in place till Israel’s bombardment of Gaza stops.

“Till a everlasting cease-fire is established and uninterrupted humanitarian help is allowed into Gaza, suspension of commerce with Israel can be applied for all imports and exports,” Mr. Bolat mentioned at a information convention to announce month-to-month commerce figures.

The transfer, which was initially reported by Bloomberg, prompted the Israeli overseas minister, Israel Katz, to lash out at Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“That is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the pursuits of the Turkish folks and businessmen, and ignoring worldwide commerce agreements,” Mr. Katz mentioned in a post on social media. Mr. Katz added that he had instructed the International Ministry to create alternate options to buying and selling with Turkey, specializing in native manufacturing and imports from different international locations.

Turkey reported $5.4 billion in exports to Israel in 2023 and $1.64 billion in imports, in accordance with United Nations figures.

Mr. Erdogan didn’t remark publicly on any modifications in Turkey’s commerce ties with Israel. However the Turkish chief has strongly criticized Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which started after Hamas led an Oct. 7 assault into Israel that killed about 1,200 folks and led to the kidnapping of about 240 others. Greater than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed amid Israel’s bombardment of the territory, in accordance with well being officers within the territory.

The Turkish chief has additionally forcefully defended Hamas and just lately met with Ismail Haniyeh, the group’s political chief, and different Hamas officers in Istanbul on April 20. Mr. Erdogan advised reporters then, “Israel will definitely pay the value of the atrocities it has been inflicting on Palestinians someday.”

The choice by Turkey to halt commerce got here after its Commerce Ministry imposed export restrictions on Israel on April 9 in 54 product teams, together with cement and jet gasoline, and mentioned they might stay in drive till “Israel declares a right away cease-fire in Gaza.”

The Commerce Ministry outlined Thursday’s suspension as “the second step in intergovernmental measures” and cited “worsening humanitarian tragedy in Palestine.”

The Turkish overseas minister, Hakan Fidan, additionally introduced on Wednesday that Turkey would be part of South Africa’s genocide case in opposition to Israel on the Worldwide Court docket of Justice. In a preliminary choice in January, the courtroom ordered Israel to make sure that its forces weren’t committing genocide in Gaza.

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