update deskIsrael at War

Israel places 100% tariffs on Turkish imports until Erdoğan steps down

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said his decision will apply until the Turks elect a leader who is not an antisemite.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Jan. 11, 2023. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Jan. 11, 2023. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

Jerusalem will end its free trade agreement with Ankara and impose 100% tariffs on Turkish imports in retaliation for President Recip Tayyip Erdoğan’s move earlier this month to block his country’s exports to Israel, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced.

“[The Turkish president’s] announcement of the stoppage of imports to Israel constitutes a declaration of an economic boycott and a serious violation of international trade agreements to which Turkey has committed,” Smotrich said in a statement over the weekend.

Smotrich said his decision would last as long as Erdoğan is in power.

“If at the end of Erdoğan’s term the citizens of Turkey elect a leader who is sane and not an Israel-hater, it will be possible to restore the trade route with Turkey,” Smotrich said.

On May 3, Erdoğan announced he would halt exports to Israel, citing the so-called “humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz immediately accused Erdoğan of acting like a “dictator, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements.”

On May 9, Turkey’s Trade Ministry told factories in the construction industry that have already worked with Israel they could temporarily resume supplies to the country.

Erdoğan backed down and canceled many of the trade restrictions,” Katz said, ridiculing the Turkish leader.

However, Turkish Trade Minister Ömer Bolat said Israeli claims of Ankara easing the trade ban are “absolutely fictional and have nothing to do with reality.”

Erdoğan has openly sided with Hamas since the Oct. 7 attack, which saw the terrorist group invade Israel and murder some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnap more than 250.

In April, Turkey invited Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’s “political” bureau, to stay in the country.

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