Turkey suspends trade with Israel over the ‘humanitarian tragedy’ in Gaza.

Turkey suspends Turkey has halted all trade with Israel over its offensive in Gaza, citing the “worsening humanitarian tragedy” there.

The Turkish trade ministry stated that the measures would remain in place until Israel allows a “uninterrupted and sufficient flow” of aid into Gaza.

Turkey suspends trade with Israel over the 'humanitarian tragedy' in Gaza.

Last year, bilateral trade totaled nearly $7 billion (£5.6 billion).

Israel’s foreign minister accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of acting as a “dictator”.

On X, Israel Katz stated that Mr Erdogan was “disregarding the interests of the Turkish people and businessmen and ignoring international trade agreements”.

He also stated that he had directed the foreign ministry to seek alternatives for trade with Turkey, with an emphasis on domestic production and imports from other countries.

Turkey said in a statement that the trade suspension applied to “all products”.

“Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Turkey became the first Muslim-majority country to recognise Israel in 1949. However, relations have worsened in recent decades.

In 2010, Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Israel after ten pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos who boarded a Turkish-owned ship attempting to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Relations were restored in 2016, but two years later, both countries expelled their top diplomats over Israel’s killing of Palestinians during protests along the Gaza-Israel border.

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Mr Erdogan has become more outspoken in his criticism of Israel since the deadly Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, last year.

In January, he stated that the military offensive launched by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response was “no less than what Hitler did.”

Mr Netanyahu responded: “Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who holds a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his regime,

Israel has faced increasing criticism for the conditions in the Gaza Strip. According to a UN-backed assessment released last month, 1.1 million people are facing catastrophic hunger, with famine expected in northern Gaza by May.

On Thursday, the White House announced that a pier built by the US military to facilitate the flow of aid into the territory would be operational within days.

The US has released photos of logistics vessels and personnel assembling the floating pier from steel segments alongside a US Navy ship.

However, the UN states that a maritime corridor can never be a substitute for land delivery, and that land routes are the only way to bring in the majority of supplies required.

Earlier this week, Israel reopened the Erez Crossing into the northern Gaza Strip for aid convoys in response to pressure from its Western allies and repeated appeals from international organizations.

However, Jordan claimed that some of its aid trucks were attacked by Israeli settlers before reaching the border.

A recent UN-backed report provided hard statistical evidence that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis was escalating into a man-made famine.

Volker Türk, the UN’s top human rights official, told the BBC that there was “plausible” evidence that Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

Israel denies limiting aid deliveries and accuses the UN of failing to distribute it to those in need in Gaza.

Turkey suspends trade with Israel over the 'humanitarian tragedy' in Gaza.

Israel launched a military campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s attack on southern Israel on October 7, which killed approximately 1,200 people and kidnapped 253.

More than 34,500 people have died in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israel and Hamas that “the time is now” to reach an agreement to end the conflict in Gaza and release the remaining hostages. He stated that a deal was on the table, and Hamas should agree to it.

Mediators are awaiting Hamas’ response to the latest proposal.

It reportedly involves a 40-day ceasefire and the release of more than 30 people.

Article Source bbc.news

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