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More than 100 tons of goods shipped to Israel from Turkish ports in last 3 days alone: journalist

Port of İzmir

Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh criticism of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, more than 100 tons of goods have been transported from Turkish ports to Israel in the last three days, according to an investigative journalist citing open source data.

Israel began pounding Gaza in the aftermath of an unprecedented attack by Hamas militants on October 7, which left some 1,200 people dead in Israel. The death toll in Gaza, in the meantime, has exceeded 30,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Erdoğan, who long marketed himself in the Muslim world as the champion of Palestinian rights and a strong critic of Israel, has repeatedly accused Israel of being a “terrorist state” and committing “genocide” in Gaza due to Israel’s ongoing attacks on the Palestinian enclave.

The trade figures, however, tell a different story.

According to investigative journalist Metin Cihan, shipments from Turkish ports included a wide range of goods such as steel, cement and food, with Turkish companies being the main suppliers.

Remarkably, Israel is directly involved in this trade through state-owned companies.

The pro-government Eren Holding, described by Cihan as one of the main suppliers of cement and construction materials to Israel, has continued its deliveries without interruption since the beginning of the conflict, supplying over 200,000 tons of materials.

Despite the ongoing conflict and Erdoğan’s condemnation, Israel remains an important trading partner for Turkey, ranking 13th on Turkey’s export list in 2023. Trade between the two countries totaled $5.42 billion last year, accounting for 2.1 percent of Turkey’s total exports, a decrease from $7 billion in 2022.

Data from the Turkish Ministry of Transportation shows that between October 7 and December 31, 2023, an average of eight ships per day made a total of 701 trips from Turkish ports to Israel. Of these, 480 sailed directly, while 221 used Turkey as a transit country. Notably, Turkish exports to Israel rose to $430.6 million in December, an increase of 34.8 percent compared to November, indicating a continued and even growing economic relationship despite the political rhetoric.

Recent revelations by journalist Cihan based on data from open sources show that some companies known for their ties to Erdoğan and his family continue to do business with Israel despite Ankara’s harsh anti-Israel rhetoric over the conflict in Gaza.

The revelation that Erdoğan and his close circle continued trade with Israel drew the ire of critics, who pointed out the hypocrisy of condemning Israel at the government level while privately pursuing a lucrative trade with the country.

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