Despite Erdogan's 'harsh rhetoric', Turkish-Israeli is still booming

Published January 21st, 2015 - 09:47 GMT
Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) shows that mutual trade volume reached $2.6 billion in 2009.
Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) shows that mutual trade volume reached $2.6 billion in 2009.

Turkey's mutual trade volume with Israel reached over $5.6 billion in 2014, representing a nearly 50 percent rise over 2009 despite lingering diplomatic tension between the two, official figures show. 

Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) shows that mutual trade volume reached $2.6 billion in 2009. Turkish exports to Israel jumped to $2.92 billion in 2014 from $1.5 billion in 2009, while imports from Israel increased to $2.7 billion from $1.1 billion in the same period. 

The escalation in tension between Turkey and Israel after the Davos crisis, when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stormed out of a panel discussion after lambasting Israeli President Shimon Perez, and over the Mavi Marmara attack, in which nine Turkish civilians were killed by Israeli marines who boarded a Gaza-bound flotilla ship, did not prevent trade between the two from rising steadily. 

Government figures recently moved to deny the fact that Turkey and Israel are enjoying a boom in mutual trade, suggesting that much of the Turkish sales to Gaza and the West Bank also go through Israeli customs. Official data, however, reveals that only a small portion of Turkish exports to Palestine constituted total sales to Israel. In 2009, Turkey sent goods worth $29.8 million to Palestine, this figure surged to $75 million in 2013. 

Turkish opposition had called on the government to revise trade ties with Israel in response to ongoing bloodshed following Israeli air, naval and ground strikes in Gaza last summer. 

Common exports include iron and steel, electrical machinery, vehicles, minerals and textiles. 

Along with trade, earlier reports of Ankara's alleged role in the sale of oil from the autonomous Kurdish region in north Iraq to Israel, bypassing the central government, led Turkish opposition parties to accuse Erdoğan of hypocrisy in his pro-Palestinian rhetoric. Opposition parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) blame Erdoğan for disingenuously exploiting the Gaza conflict for domestic political gain. 

Erdoğan has vowed to visit Gaza on different occasions for over a year but failed to do so amid his fears of increasing tensions with the Jewish state.


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