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Opposition MP submits legislative proposal seeking ban on Turkey’s trade with Israel

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A lawmaker from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) has submitted a proposal to the country’s parliament that seeks a ban on Turkey’s trade relations with Israel over its ongoing war on Gaza, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

DEM Party lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, also a renowned human rights activist, suggested in the proposal that cutting off trade with Israel is necessary for preventing Israel’s aggression in Gaza and for extending political support to the Palestinian enclave.

Tensions have been running high in the Middle East since October 7, when Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

The death toll in Gaza caused by Israel’s retaliatory attacks, meanwhile, has exceeded 33,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry in addition to causing massive destruction.

Gergerlioğlu said Israel’s attacks on the civilian areas in Gaza contravene international law, adding that the world community should conduct a more effective campaign against the Israeli violations in Gaza.

According to Gergerlioğlu, Turkey’s continued trade with Israel despite the Turkish government’s anti-Israel rhetoric has deeply disappointed the Turkish people.

“The introduction of a trade ban with Israel will mean the fulfillment of a moral responsibility for the people of Turkey,” the MP said in his proposal.

Gergerlioğlu’s proposal comes at a time when Turkey last week announced trade restrictions on Israel starting on April 9 over the war in Gaza, covering a range of products including cement and iron and steel construction materials.

The new measures came a day after Turkey said Israel had blocked its attempt to airdrop aid to Gaza and amid public resentment over the government’s continued trade with Israel despite its harsh rhetoric against the country.

Critics argued that the measure, taken six months after the conflict began, serves as recognition of Turkey’s continued trade with Israel, despite widespread condemnation of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and denial of reports by government officials and pro-government journalists.

Despite his anti-Israel rhetoric, President Recep Tayyip 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.

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.

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