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Türkiye suspends trade with Israel over ‘humanitarian tragedy’ in Gaza

Image source, fake images

Screenshot, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in September 2023, just weeks before the outbreak of war.

Turkey has suspended all trade with Israel over its Gaza offensive, citing the “worsening humanitarian tragedy” in the strip.

The Turkish Commerce Ministry said the measures would be in place until Israel allowed an “uninterrupted and sufficient flow” of aid to Gaza.

Trade between the two countries was worth almost $7 billion last year.

Israel’s foreign minister accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of acting like a “dictator.”

Israel Katz said in X that Erdogan was “disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen and ignoring international trade agreements.”

He added that he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to look for alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.

In a statement, Türkiye said the trade suspension covered “all products.”

“Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

In 1949, Türkiye was the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel. But relations have worsened in recent decades.

In 2010, Turkey broke diplomatic relations with Israel after 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos who boarded a Turkish-owned ship attempting to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Relations were restored in 2016, but both countries expelled each other two years later in a dispute over Israel’s killing of Palestinians amid protests on the Gaza-Israel border.

Erdogan has become increasingly strident in his criticism of Israel since Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

In January, he said the military offensive that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched in response was “nothing less than what Hitler did.”

Netanyahu responded: “Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who has a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his government, is the last person who can preach morality to us.”

Image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Screenshot, Earlier this week, Israel reopened the Erez crossing into northern Gaza for aid trucks.

Israel has come under increasing criticism over conditions in the Gaza Strip. A U.N.-backed assessment said last month that 1.1 million people faced catastrophic hunger and that famine was imminent in northern Gaza in May.

On Thursday, the White House said a dock built by the U.S. military would open within days to facilitate the flow of aid to the territory.

However, the UN says a sea corridor can never replace land delivery, and that land routes are the only way to bring in most of the needed supplies.

Earlier this week, Israel reopened the Erez crossing into the northern Gaza Strip for aid convoys, under pressure from its Western allies and following repeated calls from international aid organizations.

However, Jordan said some of its aid trucks were attacked by Israeli settlers before reaching the crossing.

The UN’s top human rights official, Volker Türk, told the BBC there was a “plausible” case that Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

Israel denies limiting aid deliveries and has blamed the UN for failing to distribute it to those in need inside Gaza.

Israel launched a military campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s attack on southern Israel on October 7, during which some 1,200 people were killed and another 253 were taken hostage.

More than 34,500 people have died in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run territory’s Health Ministry.

Mediators are awaiting a response from Hamas to the latest proposal.

It reportedly involves a 40-day ceasefire and the release of more than 30 Israeli hostages in exchange for many more Palestinian prisoners.