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Turkey imposes trade restrictions on Israel over Gaza war

Palestinians shelter in a makeshift tent made from a parachute used to airdrop food aid, set up on the rubble of their home in a devastated area around Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital on April 2, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey says it has decided to impose trade restrictions on Israel after the occupying regime blocked Ankara’s attempt to airdrop aid to the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Turkish Ministry of Trade made the announcement in a statement on social media, saying the new measures will start on Tuesday and would apply to 54 different items, including cement and steel and iron construction materials.

"This decision will remain in place until Israel declares a ceasefire immediately and allows adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza," the ministry said.

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan vowed reprisals against Israel for denying Turkey's request to airdrop aid to Gaza, saying the retaliatory measures would be implemented "step by step" and "without delay".

He also noted that the export measures were approved by Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has already pledged support for Gaza until the Israeli regime puts an end to its brutal campaign in the blockaded territory.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz has reacted to the move in a post on X, saying Erdogan “is once again sacrificing the economic interests of the people of Turkey” for his support of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Katz also accused Turkey of "unilaterally violating the trade agreements with Israel," saying Tel Aviv would "adopt the necessary steps” against Ankara.

“Israel will not succumb to violence and extortion, will not overlook the unilateral violation of our trade agreements and will take parallel measures against Turkey that will harm the Turkish economy,” he said.

Katz went on to say that Israel is now preparing an “expanded list of products” it intends to stop importing from Turkey.

In addition, Israel will “appeal to pro-Israel countries and organizations in the US to stop investments in Turkey and prevent the import of products from Turkey,” he added.

Israel launched the campaign in Gaza on October 7 after Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long suppression and devastation against the Palestinians. The regime has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children.

Erdogan has been vocal in denouncing Israel’s relentless strikes on Gaza and has already said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will eventually be “tried as a war criminal.”

Ankara and Tel Aviv had restored their diplomatic ties only recently, but the current war has deteriorated their bilateral relations significantly.

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