Turkey to establish industrial zone in West Bank

Turkey is set to establish an industrial zone in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Saturday.

The decision by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to allow the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the country's largest business group,to take on the project, has been welcomed by the Palestinian government, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey will finance the second phase of the implementation of the industrial zone, which will focus on internal infrastructure and is expected to cost around $10 million, Palestinian Economy Minister Khaled Al-Osaily told Anadolu.

“There is a plan for Turkish factories to operate in the [industrial] zone,” Al-Osaily said, noting that the presence of Turkish factories will boost Palestinian exports while creating about 5,000 direct and 15,000 indirect job opportunities. 

The planned industrial zone will be located about three kilometres north of Jenin’s city centre, extending over 1.1 million square metres, Anadolu said.

The West Bank, located on the west bank of the River Jordan and bounded by Israel to the north, west and south, has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war. The final status of the land remains unresolved following decades of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, both of whom claim rights there.

Erdoğan is an ardent supporter of Palestine, and his vocal criticism of Israeli policies on Palestinians has sparked frequent verbal feuds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister has long championed Jewish settlements in the West Bank.