Turkey restricts exports to Israel after ban on aid drop

The list covers 54 items including marble, cement, steel and aluminium products

Protesters gather in Istanbul to oppose Turkey's continuing trade with Israel amid the war in Gaza. AP
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Turkey has announced restrictions on exports to Israel after it opposed planned Turkish aid drops over the Gaza Strip and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced criticism for not stopping trade with the country.

Turkey’s Trade Ministry announced restrictions on the export of some products that could be used for military purposes.

The list provided by the ministry includes 54 items, among them construction materials like marble, cement, steel and aluminium products.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said late on Monday that Israel had rejected Turkey’s request to participate in aid drops, vowing to introduce counter measures.

The move by Ankara comes after thousands of protesters denounced Mr Erdogan at the weekend for maintaining trade with Israel amid the war in Gaza.

The protests came less than a week after Mr Erdogan suffered a defeat in local elections on March 31, partly due to similar criticism from grassroots conservative voters who supported a rival party.

“This decision will remain in effect until Israel declares an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and allows a sufficient and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” the Trade Ministry said.

Turkey and Israel remain divided over the status of Palestinian territories, and Israel accuses Ankara of supporting Hamas.

Turkey is a Nato member, but unlike the US and EU, does not consider Hamas a terrorist organisation.

Mr Erdogan has called the group’s militants “freedom fighters”, but has stopped short of cutting ties with Israel altogether.

The war, however, has derailed a nascent thaw between Turkey and Israel after more than a decade of tension.

Updated: April 09, 2024, 7:46 AM