Türkiye Announces Suspension of Trade Activities with Israel Amid Gaza Crisis

Turkish President, Recep Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Turkey said Thursday it was suspending all trade with Israel until it allows aid to enter Gaza unhindered during its offensive against Hamas militants in the territory.

“Exports and imports to and from Israel have been suspended,” the trade ministry said in a statement, adding: “Turkey will apply these new measures… until the Israeli government authorises an uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had earlier on Thursday accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of breaking agreements between the two countries by blocking Israeli exports and imports.

The move is the latest incident degrading relations after Turkey, one of the few Muslim-majority nations to recognise Israel, restricted exports to the country in April.

The Gaza Strip is suffering a humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s war against Hamas that has been raging since October 7, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning of impending famine.

The war started with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel estimates that 129 captives seized by militants during their attack remain in Gaza. The military says 34 of them are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 34,596 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

However, Türkiye’s decision to prioritize humanitarian concerns over economic interests reflects its commitment to principles of justice and solidarity. By taking a principled stance on the Gaza crisis, Türkiye seeks to exert pressure on Israel to end its offensive and lift the blockade of Gaza, thereby facilitating the delivery of much-needed aid to the Palestinian population.

The announcement of the suspension of trade activities with Israel comes amid growing international condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza and calls for a ceasefire to end the violence. Türkiye’s decision adds to the chorus of voices calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and underscores the urgent need for humanitarian action to alleviate the suffering of civilians caught in the crossfire.

Türkiye’s decision to suspend trade activities with Israel in response to the Gaza crisis is a bold diplomatic move that reflects its commitment to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and upholding humanitarian principles. While the suspension of trade may have economic consequences for both countries, Türkiye’s prioritization of humanitarian concerns sends a powerful message to the international community about the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict and advocating for justice and peace in the Middle East.

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