May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Turkey Suspends Trade With Israel

May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Turkey Suspends Trade With Israel

Latest Developments

Turkey suspended trade with Israel on May 2, according to two unnamed Turkish officials quoted by Bloomberg. In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on X that Ankara is “breaking agreements by blocking ports for Israel imports and exports” and that the Israeli government will work “to create alternatives for trade with Turkey.” The Turkish government released a communique hours later confirming that all “exports and imports to and from Israel have been suspended … until the Israeli government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.” But the move comes as Ankara continues to escalate its campaign against the Jewish state over the war in Gaza. Turkey imposed a partial export ban on Israel on April 9 and, on May 1, announced plans to join South Africa’s genocide complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Expert Analysis

“In a move designed to please Turkey’s domestic voters, Erdogan is jeopardizing his country’s standing among Western allies, possibly beyond a point of no return. This will only hurt Turkey and its interests. Congress should respond by threatening sanctions against Ankara, as not doing so could encourage other countries to follow Turkey’s example.” — Sinan Ciddi, FDD Non-Resident Senior Fellow

“This latest move by Erdogan is an overstep that will be seen as inflammatory and garner an appropriate reaction from Congress and the Biden administration. Turkey is punishing itself by cutting off trade with Israel and making a bad economic situation even worse. Erdogan is desperate to be seen as the champion of the Palestinians while taking steps that will only hinder humanitarian aid to Gaza and the creation of a more stable security environment for the region.” — Tyler Stapleton, Director of Congressional Relations at FDD Action

Turkey Restricts Exports to Israel

On April 9, Turkey announced that it would ban the export of 54 categories of products to Israel until Jerusalem declares a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The export restrictions included iron, marble, steel, cement, aluminum, brick, fertilizer, construction equipment, and aviation fuel. Ankara claimed that it put the ban in place after Israel rejected a request to allow Turkish military planes to participate in aid airdrops in the Gaza Strip.

In turn, Israel said that it would compile an “extensive” list of Turkish items it would ban. “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, adults and burned children alive,” Katz said on April 9.

Erdogan Backs Hamas

Despite working to repair Turkey’s ties with Israel over the past few years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan became one of the most outspoken critics of Israel after Hamas’s October 7 massacre. He has falsely claimed that Israel is committing “genocide” in Gaza and that Hamas members are freedom fighters. On May 1, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced that Turkey plans to join South Africa’s genocide complaint against Israel at the ICJ. “Upon completion of the legal text of our work, we will submit the declaration of official intervention before the ICJ with the objective of implementing this political decision,” Fidan said during a press conference.

Still, trade between Turkey and Israel remained unrestricted for months after Hamas’s October 7 attack. Turkey exported $5.4 billion worth of goods to Israel in 2023, down from $7 billion in 2022. In the runup to Turkey’s March 31 election, opposition parties attacked Erdogan for continuing trade with Israel, which likely cost the incumbent president electorally.

Turkey Initiates Trade War With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Turkey Poised to Join South Africa’s Genocide Lawsuit Against Israel at ICJ,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Turkey,” FDD Insight


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