Turkey halts all trade with Israel ‘until permanent ceasefire’ 

Turkey’s Trade Ministry on May 2 announced cutting all imports and exports with Israel due to the “worsening tragedy” in Gaza until a permanent ceasefire was achieved. The move expands the partial ban the Ministry had enacted for several products. 

Reuters & Duvar English

Turkey on May 2 stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel, the Turkish trade ministry said, citing "worsening humanitarian tragedy" in Gaza.

"Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products," Turkey's trade ministry said in a statement.

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

The two countries had a trade volume of $6.8 billion in 2023. Turkey thus became the first key trading partner of Israel to halt relations over the war on Gaza. 

Turkey last month imposed trade restrictions on Israel over what it said was Israel's refusal to allow Ankara to take part in aid air-drop operations for Gaza and its offensive on the enclave.

Minister Ömer Bolar on May 3 stated that they have awaited a ceasefire after implementing the initial restrictions. The worsening situation has made them impose full restrictions. 

The minister announced that trade relations would stop until a permanent ceasefire, and aid could reach Gaza unobstructed. 

Earlier on Thursday, Israel's foreign minister said that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was breaking agreements by blocking ports for Israeli imports and exports.

"This is how a dictator behaves, disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen, and ignoring international trade agreements," Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on social media platform X.

Katz said he instructed the foreign ministry to create alternatives for trade with Turkey, focusing on local production and imports from other countries.

Four export company owners told Reuters that Turkish exporters were looking at ways to send their goods to Israel via third countries after the ban, saying the decision had caught them by surprise.

Turkey has denounced Israel's military campaign in Gaza, sent thousands of tons of aid for Gazans, and, on May 1 said it would join South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Yet its decision to maintain commercial ties with Israel until last month, despite Erdogan's strong rhetoric, prompted a domestic backlash and hurt the results of the ruling AK Party in nationwide local elections in March.  

Many reports revealed that some companies close to the Turkish government and Islamist business group Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) have been continuing their ties with Israel.

Independent journalist Metin Cihan on April 3 reported a 21-tonne shipment of boron from Eti Mining, a fully public-owned company under the Turkish Wealth Fund. The shipment reached Israel on April 1, for the Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd.

The company also served the Israeli army, reported Cihan.