Türkiye imposes trade restrictions with ‘Israel’

Since Israel began its genocidal war on Gaza, Türkiye withdrew its ambassador from Israel and backed South Africa’s genocide suit against it in the International Court of Justice.

By: Peoples Dispatch

Erdoğan during a state visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey (2022). Photo: Government Media Office of Israel / Wikimedia commons

The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday, April 9 welcomed Türkiye’s decision to impose trade restrictions on Israel pending ceasefire in Gaza and “sufficient and uninterrupted flow” of humanitarian aid to the region as a “step in the right direction.”

On Tuesday April 9, Türkiye’s Ministry of Trade announced the suspension of export of 54 items including machinery, mostly related to the construction industry to Israel, until it ends the war in Gaza and allows the flow of adequate humanitarian aid in the territory. The ministry cited resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and the interim injunction issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the statement announcing its restrictions.

“Israel continues to violate international law flagrantly and ignores the international community’s numerous calls for ceasefire and uninterrupted humanitarian aid” the ministry said in a statement. “As the state and people of the Republic of Turkiye, we will continue to stand by and support Palestine and its people, as we have done so far” it said.

Mohammad Alamour, Palestine’s minister of economy, claimed that the Turkish decision is a step “in the right direction to implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice regarding an immediate ceasefire and providing aid and relief to our people in Gaza.”

The UN Security Council and General Assembly have passed separate resolutions demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and increased access to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in the besieged territory.

The ICJ had issued an interim order in January asking Israel to stop acts of genocide and to allow access to adequate humanitarian aid while hearing a petition brought by South Africa which alleged Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

Talking about how Israel denied Turkiye’s request to join air dropping of humanitarian aid in Gaza and its restrictions on the land route for aid, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said in a press conference on Monday that his country has designed a set of measures against Israel which would be implemented in phases until there is a ceasefire in Gaza.

Türkiye has been one of the leading aid providers to Gaza since the beginning of the war in October.

Israel threatens actions against Türkiye

Reacting to Türkiye’s decision, Israel Katz, the Israeli foreign minister, threatened to take action against Türkiye in a statement on X. He claimed that Israel will lobby the US and other countries to stop the flow of international investment in the country. He also threatened to impose a ban on the imports of other goods from the country.

According to the Turkish media, Türkiye exported goods and services worth USD 5.43 billion to Israel in 2023. Trade between both the countries has already been affected by the Israeli war in Gaza.

Türkiye was one of the first countries in the region to recognize Israel in 1948. However, the relations between both the countries have seen several ups and downs since Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in the early 2000s. In 2018, following Israel’s killing of hundreds of Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests, Türkiye withdrew its ambassador from Israel.

The relations were normalized four years later in 2022 when both the countries agreed to restore their diplomatic ties. However, in November last year, Türkiye withdrew its ambassador from Israel again in opposition to the war in Gaza which as of April 10 has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and wounded nearly 76,000 others.

Erdogan has called the Israel a “terror state” and supported South Africa’s charges in the ICJ of it committing genocide of Palestinian people in Gaza.

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