Turkey-Israel trade increases, as relations worsen -- Report

Relations between Turkey and Israel have hit rock bottom in the wake of  Israel’s attack on Al-Aqsa mosque last week, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s reaction. But trade between the two countries continues to increase regardless, Mezopotamya news agency reported on Friday.

The volume of trade between the two countries today is $6.5 billion, while it was $1.4 billion during the time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power, the report said, citing Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜIK).

Israel ranked third among importers of Turkish goods and services in 2020, according to the report, with imports at a value of $4.7 billion in that year. This is a jump from 2019 when Israel ranked ninth on the list of consumers of Turkish exports.

In his speech at the 2020 Foreign Trade Assessment Meeting, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan noted that in 2020, there were 44 countries with which Turkey broke an export record in exports, with the United States of America, Israel and South Korea at the top of them, the report notes. 

Turkey's food exports to Israel also increased from last year. In the first 9 months of 2020, dried fruit sales increased by 64 percent, seafood by more than 36 percent, and grains and legumes by almost 18 percent compared with the same period of 2019. Fruit and vegetable exports increased by more than 25 percent.

Over the years, despite scorching reactions by Erdoğan to events in Israel, trade has grown steadily, the report shows.

For example, in 2017, when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem,  Erdoğan declared that “Jerusalem is a red line.” The Turkish President hosted the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul in May 2018 and said, "To act for the Palestinians killed by Israeli bandits today means to show the whole world that humanity is not still dead." 

During that year, the volume of foreign trade between Turkey and Israel approached a second record at $5.6 billion.

There may be a red line in politics, but there doesn’t seem to be a parallel line in trade.