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Turkey Halts All Trade with Israel Amid Escalating Tensions

In a significant development in the Middle East, Turkey has announced the cessation of all trade with Israel, marking an unprecedented escalation in the ongoing tensions between the two nations. This move comes in the wake of the war in Gaza, a conflict that has seen Turkey and Israel taking increasingly opposing stances.

According to Bloomberg News, citing two Turkish officials familiar with the matter, Turkey stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel as of Thursday, May 2, 2024. This decision expands upon previous restrictions imposed on April 9, which saw Turkey restricting exports of 54 types of products to Israel. The latest move effectively halts all trade between the two countries, a decision that has the potential to significantly impact the economic relations between Turkey and Israel.

The Turkish government has not formally announced the trade cessation, but the decision is in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent statements criticizing Israel's military actions in Gaza. Turkey, a staunch critic of Israel's military actions in Gaza, has described Israel's actions as war crimes verging on "genocide" and has expressed support for the Hamas militant group, which is fighting for the liberation of its lands and people.

The decision has sparked reactions from both sides. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has accused Turkey of sacrificing the economic interests of its people for its support of Hamas. Katz has also announced that Israel will work to create immediate alternatives for trade with Turkey by increasing local manufacturing and finding other suppliers.

Trade between Turkey and Israel was worth $6.8 billion in 2023, with 76% of this trade being Turkish exports. The most significant Turkish export to Israel in 2023 was iron and steel. This trade cessation will have far-reaching economic implications for both countries and could potentially strain relations further.

This unprecedented move by Turkey highlights the deep divisions between Turkey and Israel over the war in Gaza and underscores the complexities of Middle Eastern geopolitics. As the situation continues to unfold, the international community watches with keen interest to see how these developments will shape the future of the region.

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