Turkey says it is not easing Israel export ban

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 9:05 AM

By Ece Toksabay and Burcu Karakas

ANKARA (Reuters) – Israeli claims of Ankara easing its trade ban with Israel are “absolutely fictional and have nothing to do with reality,” Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat said on Thursday, as Ankara introduced a three-month reprieve for companies with existing export deals to Israel.

Israel’s foreign minister said on Thursday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had retreated on his earlier position and lifted many of the trade restrictions he imposed on Israel.

Turkey stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel last week, citing “worsening humanitarian tragedy” in the Palestinian territories.

Turkey’s trade ban with Israel will remain in place until a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and humanitarian aid flow to the region are secured, Bolat said in a post on X.

In a document seen by Reuters, the trade ministry outlined the three-month reprieve for companies exporting to Israel after introduction of the trade ban.

Companies have three months to fulfill existing orders via third countries, a source from Turkish trade ministry said, adding that relaxing Turkey’s ban on exports to Israel is “out of the question.”

The latest steps aims to protect Turkish traders, another source from the ministry said.

Erdogan last week told Turkish business people that Ankara would manage problems stemming from trade halt with Israel “in coordination and dialogue” with its business world.

Claims of Turkey easing the trade ban with Israel aim “to manipulate international public opinion,” the Turkish presidency’s communications directorate also said in a statement.

Turkey and Israel had a trade volume of $6.8 billion in 2023.

(Writing by Huseyin Hayatsever; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Tuvan Gumrukcu and Franklin Paul)