update deskIsrael at War

Israeli FM Katz ridicules Erdoğan after trade-ban reversal

"Don’t give in to the threats of a dictator, enable alternatives, and don’t be dependent on a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood," Israel Katz said.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet in Istanbul, April 20, 2024. Source: Turkish Presidency/X.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet in Istanbul, April 20, 2024. Source: Turkish Presidency/X.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz ridiculed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday after the Turkish president temporarily reversed part of a trade export ban imposed on the Jewish state.

“Erdoğan backed down and canceled many of the trade restrictions. The lesson is clear: Don’t give in to the threats of a dictator, enable alternatives, and don’t be dependent on a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood who can stop everything at a moment’s notice,” he tweeted.

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

Turkey’s trade war will continue until Jerusalem agrees to “a permanent ceasefire and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid to our Palestinian brothers in Gaza,” the minister said in a post on X.

Turkey’s Trade Ministry sent letters to factories in the construction industry that have already worked with Israel, informing them that they can temporarily resume supplies to the country, the Globes business daily reported on Thursday.

The move was made after a meeting in Ankara on Wednesday between senior officials from the Trade Ministry and the Turkey-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

Erdoğan’s government, which openly supports Hamas in its war against Israel, announced export restrictions a month ago, saying that they would apply to 54 categories of goods and last until a ceasefire is declared in Gaza.

Turkey’s Trade Ministry said that the restricted exports would include iron and steel products, construction equipment and materials, and machines.

Last week, Katz accused Erdoğan of acting like a “dictator” by blocking the country’s ports to Israeli imports and exports as part of a trade war.

“This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements,” Katz wrote on X.

Katz said he instructed his office to devise alternative trade routes that bypass Turkey while focusing on boosting local production and imports from other international partners.

Sources told Globes that Israel’s Foreign and Economy ministries have been working “feverishly” in recent days to find an alternative to dependence on Turkish imports for the long term.

In addition, the paper reported that an announcement will likely be made soon of a tripartite conference between Israel, Greece and Cyprus with the attendance of Katz and Economy Minister Nir Barkat, aimed at bringing Israeli importers and Greek and Cypriot suppliers to replace Turkish businesses.

Erdoğan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party took a thumping at the polls in local elections on March 31, has been displaying open hostility to the Jewish state and support for Hamas since the terrorist organization started the Oct. 7 war by invading Israel.

Katz also severely criticized Ankara towards the end of April for inviting Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’s “political” bureau, to stay in the country.

Tensions between the two countries were also aggravated recently when a Turkish terrorist carried out an attack in Jerusalem.

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