15.3 C
Frankfurt am Main

Trade restrictions fail to hinder maritime trade between Turkey and Israel: journalist

Must read

Despite Turkey’s announcement of the imposition of trade restrictions on Israel amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, maritime activity suggests that the flow of goods between the two countries remains largely unaffected, according to an investigative journalist, citing online maritime traffic data.

Six months after Israel launched its war on Gaza, the Turkish government heeded public criticism and imposed restrictions on its ongoing trade with Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

According to data shared by journalist Metin Cihan, 11 ships have departed Turkish ports bound for Israel since Tuesday. Additionally, there are currently seven vessels in Turkish ports either waiting or in the process of being loaded, preparing to set sail for Israel. These ships carry a diverse range of cargo, including cement, which was among the items subject to restricted trade between the two countries, fuel and chemicals.

The data shared by Cihan on X show ships such as Medkon Ltf, Annapurna and MSC Carmen calling at Ashdod and Haifa from Turkish ports such as İskenderun and Mersin after the restrictions were announced on Tuesday. The voyages were carried out by various international and Turkish companies.

Data shared by Cihan also show ships that are expected to call at Israeli ports from Turkey. Ships such as the Aria Vibe and Sirios Cement I, which are operated by companies from countries such as Albania, Greece and Turkey, are listed with expected arrival times between April 11 and 14 in Haifa and Ashdod.

These shipments indicate that despite the export restrictions announced by the Turkish government, the flow of goods and materials linked to the restricted trade continues.

The move to restrict trade came as a response to Israel’s actions in Gaza and its blocking of Turkey’s attempts to airdrop aid into the region.

The restrictions specifically target 54 products, including cement and iron and steel construction materials.

The Turkish Trade Ministry declared these measures would stay in place “until Israel declares a ceasefire immediately and allows an adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Anti-Israel sentiment has been running high in Turkey since Israel began pounding Gaza in retaliation for an unprecedented attack by militant group Hamas in the south of Israel on October 7, which claimed around 1,200 lives and led to the taking of some 250 hostages.

As of April 6, 133 hostages remained in captivity in the Gaza Strip, 129 of whom had been abducted on October 7.

The death toll in Gaza, meanwhile, has exceeded 33,500, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The trade between Turkey and Israel, some of which is conducted by people close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan despite his anti-Israel rhetoric, was first revealed by Cihan in late November. Cihan has since then been reporting on the commerce between the two countries using official statistics and maritime traffic websites, all of which are publicly available.

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.

He even compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu to Adolf Hitler.

Despite his anti-Israel rhetoric, Erdoğan has faced accusations of hypocrisy due to the ongoing trade between Israel and Turkey that has shown no signs of winding down at the height of Israel’s war on Gaza and to some extent is conducted by people close to Erdoğan and his family.

The ongoing conflict and Erdoğan’s condemnation notwithstanding, 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.

The Turkish Statistical Institute’s Foreign Trade Statistics Database showed items exported to Israel included precious metals, chemicals, insecticides, nuclear reactor parts, gunpowder, explosives, aircraft parts and weapons and ammunition.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News