Economy Ministry Moves to Regulate Trade With Turkey Amid Rising Tensions

By Yoni Weiss

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye /Pool Photo via AP, File)

The Economy Ministry is advancing new regulations for Israel’s economic relations with Turkey in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing antagonism toward Israel and support for Hamas.

This decision comes after Erdogan imposed a trade embargo against Israel, violating the bilateral trade agreement. The new regulations include a control mechanism requiring licensing for all products imported directly from Turkey to Israel.

In 2023, Israel imported approximately $5.2 billion worth of goods from Turkey. However, none of these imports are unique to Turkey, and the Economy and Foreign Ministries are seeking alternative markets.

In early May, Turkey suspended all export and import operations with Israel, citing Israel’s “aggression against Palestine in violation of international law and human rights.” The Turkish Trade Ministry emphasized Turkey’s humanitarian aid efforts for Gaza, accusing Israel of continuing its “massacre, humanitarian catastrophe, and physical destruction” and obstructing international ceasefire efforts and humanitarian aid.

The trade embargo followed Turkey’s earlier restriction on exporting 54 product categories to Israel, which Turkey attributed to Israel denying a Turkish request to join humanitarian air drops to Gaza.

Israel and Turkey announced in August 2022 that they would normalize relations by reinstating ambassadors and consuls after years of tension. However, Erdogan has resumed his frequent verbal attacks on Israel since the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza.

In one speech, Erdogan accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of committing “one of the greatest atrocities of this century in Gaza,” labeling him as the “butcher of Gaza.” In March, Erdogan likened Israel and Netanyahu to “today’s Nazis,” and in late May, he called Netanyahu a “vampire.”

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