Volunteer doctor shares Gazans’ disappointment with Turkey’s continuing trade with Israel 

Volunteer doctor Taner Kamacı has shared the disappointment he heard from Gazans about the Turkish government’s continuing trade relations with Israel upon his return to Turkey. Journalist Metin Cihan recently uncovered a 21-tonne boron shipment to Israel from the Wealth Fund-owned Eti Mining.

Surgeon Taner Kamacı talks to the press upon his arrival to Turkey.

Duvar English

Taner Kamacı on April 3 voiced the disappointment he heard from Gazans while on volunteer duty, regarding the Turkish government’s ongoing trade relationship with Israel.

Kamacı gave a brief press statement upon his return to his hometown in the southeastern Diyarbakır province.

The Gazans he spoke with asked why the Turkish government was exporting produce, steel, and concrete while the Israeli government starved, killed, and demolished in Gaza.

“They sent their regards but also said they were a little disappointed,” stated the doctor. 

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s position on Israel’s war on Gaza has remained ambiguous.

On the one hand, the party and its leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned Israel and called to end the war repeatedly and on multiple diplomatic occasions.

On the other hand, the government abstained from practical sanctions against Israel and has not responded to media reports or criticisms over its continuing trade meaningfully. 

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. 

The Islamist far-right New Welfare Party (YRP) commented on the report, calling the government to “rid themselves of this sin.”

After their rift following the general elections, the YRP criticized and built a local election campaign around the AKP’s inconsistent rhetoric on Palestine.

Previously, the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) suggested that the news reports on Turkey’s arms exports to Israel were misleading, saying the exported goods sold were merely “weapon parts” used for “hunting and sports purposes.” 

Meanwhile, the AKP has repressed citizens’ calls to end trade with Israel. During a local election rally President Erdoğan held in late February, some attendees unfurled a banner stating, "End the shame of trade with Israel," which was promptly confiscated.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had claimed that the country’s diplomatic and trade relations with Israel did not harm “the Palestinian cause.”

As of the beginning of April, Israeli forces have killed over 33,000 and injured over 75,000 people in its attacks on Gaza. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on April 5 reported that around 62% of all homes in the Gaza Strip were damaged or destroyed in the ongoing war.