Turkey halts trade with Israel over Gaza crisis, demands unhindered humanitarian aid

Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat stated that the trade halt will continue until Israel allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Addressing the media in Istanbul while announcing April trade figures, Bolat emphasized that Israel’s uncompromising attitude and the deteriorating situation in Gaza prompted Turkey to take this decisive step.

Turkey has announced a complete halt on all exports and imports to and from Israel, citing the “worsening humanitarian tragedy” in the Palestinian territories, particularly Gaza. The move comes as tensions escalate between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza, with Turkey demanding a permanent truce and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid to the region.

Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat stated that the trade halt will continue until Israel allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Addressing the media in Istanbul while announcing April trade figures, Bolat emphasized that Israel’s uncompromising attitude and the deteriorating situation in Gaza prompted Turkey to take this decisive step.

The Turkish Ministry of Trade officially declared, “Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products.” The statement further clarified that 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 followed criticism from Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of breaking agreements by blocking ports from handling Israeli imports and exports. Katz took to social media, stating, “This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements.”

Katz revealed that he had instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explore alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries. The two countries had a substantial trade volume of $6.8 billion in 2023.

Turkey’s move to halt trade with Israel comes after months of escalating tensions between the two nations. Last month, Turkey imposed trade restrictions on Israel over what it said was Israel’s refusal to allow Ankara to participate in airdrops of aid for Gaza and Israel’s military actions in the enclave.

President Erdogan had previously stated that Turkey no longer continued “intense trade” with Israel, although he did not indicate a complete cessation of trade at the time.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza has sparked international concern over the humanitarian crisis in the region. Turkey, a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, has taken a firm stance, demanding a permanent truce and unhindered access to humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza.