Erdogan: Israel trade freeze aimed at forcing Gaza truce

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint statement to the media in Baghdad on April 22, 2024. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / POOL / AFP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint statement to the media in Baghdad on April 22, 2024. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / POOL / AFP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey’s move to halt trade with Israel was designed to force the country to a ceasefire over Gaza.

The decision, announced on Thursday, is the latest indication of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

“We have taken some measures to force Israel to agree to a ceasefire and increase the amount of humanitarian aid to enter” Gaza, Erdogan tells a group of businessmen in Istanbul.

“We will oversee the consequences of this step we have taken in coordination and consultation with our business world.”

Already in April Turkey, one of the few Muslim-majority nations to recognize Israel, announced it was restricting exports to Israel, covering 54 products from iron and steel to jet fuel.

“We do not run after hostility or conflict in our region,” says Erdogan. “We do not want to see conflict, blood or tears in our geography.

“We know now that we did the right thing.”

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