update deskIsrael at War

Turkey restricts Israel exports over Gaza airdrop rejection

Jerusalem is vowing to "take parallel measures that will harm the Turkish economy."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, Emine, at a rally in Istanbul in support of Palestinians, Oct. 28, 2023. Source: Facebook/Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, Emine, at a rally in Istanbul in support of Palestinians, Oct. 28, 2023. Source: Facebook/Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Ankara on Tuesday announced Israeli export restrictions after Jerusalem denied a Turkish request to airdrop aid into the Gaza Strip.

The government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which openly supports Hamas in its war against Israel, said that the trade measures would apply to 54 different categories and would last until a ceasefire is declared.

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

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Monday that the country would take punitive measures following the Israeli rejection of its offer to drop deliveries of aid into Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted in response to the move that Erdogan “is once again sacrificing the economic interests of the people of Turkey for his support of the Hamas murderers in Gaza who raped, murdered and desecrated the bodies of women, girls and adults, and burned children alive.”

He continued: “Israel will not submit to violence and extortion, will not overlook the unilateral violation of our trade agreements and will take parallel measures against Turkey that will harm the Turkish economy. I gave the directive to prepare an additional list of products that Israel will prevent Turkey from exporting and to appeal to pro-Israel countries and organizations in the United States to halt investments in Turkey and prevent the import of products from Turkey and to our friends in the American Congress to examine the violation of the boycott laws and impose sanctions on Turkey accordingly.”

Katz on Tuesday morning ordered the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Division to prepare an “extensive” list of products that Israel will prevent Turkey from exporting to Israel as a retaliatory measure, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

“Turkey is unilaterally violating the trade agreements with Israel, and Israel will take all necessary measures to oppose it,” the statement read.

Ankara has already been blocking exports to Israel, delaying or not approving shipments since March 12, Israeli business news site Globes reported on Tuesday, citing agencies working with Israeli importers who say there is no timetable for when the obstructions will end.

Turkish Airlines announced last week that it would continue to suspend its Israeli operations until March 2025.

Erdogan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) just took a thumping at the polls in local elections, has been displaying open hostility to Israel and support for Hamas since the start of the Gaza war in October.

The hostile atmosphere in Turkey prompted Israel’s National Security Council to issue a travel warning for Israelis not to visit the country.

Last month, Erdogan compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to “Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today’s Nazis.”

Jerusalem “continues to commit massacres against the Palestinian people,” he said, adding that Turkey would do “what is necessary to hold Israeli officials accountable.”

Erdogan also stated that Turkey “cannot be coerced into designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. We communicate with them openly and stand behind them.”

Netanyahu blasted the Turkish leader over the remarks, saying, “Israel upholds the laws of war and will not be subject to moral preaching from Erdogan, who supports [the] murderers and rapists of the Hamas terrorist organization, denies the Armenian genocide, massacres Kurds in his own country and cracks down on regime opponents and journalists.”

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