Turkey halts all trade with Israel, imposing economic sanctions in response to the ongoing military operations in Gaza. This significant move highlights the escalating regional tensions and global impact.

T he blowback from Gaza is being felt everywhere but especially in crucial regional ties, not least trade relations.

Israelโ€™s punishing military operation against the people of Gaza is seven months old this week, and its ripple effects are being felt on college campuses in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Lebanon and India.

On Red Sea shipping.

And Turkeyโ€™s trading relationship with Israel.

What happened in Turkey just days ago is arguably most significant of all. Turkey has called a halt on all its trade with Israel. Itโ€™s a form of economic sanctions, which officials say will be in place until Israel agrees to a permanent ceasefire and allows uninterrupted and sufficient humanitarian aid flows into Gaza.

How effective are these unilateral economic sanctions likely to be? Israel and Turkey have been crucial trade partners for quite some time, and their commercial relationship is now worth nearly seven billion dollars a year. In 2023, Israel was Turkeyโ€™s 13th biggest export market, receiving 2.1% of Turkish exports. Turkey was Israelโ€™s 5th biggest source of imports last year.

Some weeks ago, Turkey imposed restrictions on 54 key products it exported to Israel, including iron, steel, jet fuel, pesticides and construction equipment. With that ban now extended to all exports and imports, this is a defining moment for one of the more significant equations between Israel and the Islamic world.

In 1949, Turkey was the first Muslim-majority country to recognise Israel. That their relationship has now broken down to the point of the total cessation of trading activity is one of the more troubling consequences of Israelโ€™s horrifying and tragic war on Gaza.



โ–ช This piece was first published in Medium and re-published in PUBLIC SQUARE UK on 10 May 2024 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
โ–ช Cover: Flickr/Emad El Byed. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)
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