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Turkey Suspends Trade with Israel Over Gaza Offensive

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Turkey has suspended all trade with Israel, citing the “worsening humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza. The decision was made until Israel allowed an “uninterrupted and sufficient flow” of aid into Gaza. Trade between the two countries was worth almost $7bn last year. Israel’s foreign minister accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of acting like a “dictator”. He added that he had instructed the foreign ministry to find alternatives for trade with Turkey, with a focus on local production and imports from other countries.

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of Hamas in Gaza, and relations between the two countries have worsened in recent decades. In 2010, Turkey broke off diplomatic ties with Israel after ten pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos who boarded a Turkish-owned ship trying to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. Relations were restored in 2016, but both countries expelled each other’s top diplomats two years later in a dispute over Israel’s killing of Palestinians amid protests on the Gaza-Israel border.

The Turkish leader has for months come under domestic political pressure to announce measures against Israel from both opponents and allies. His ruling AK party suffered its worst defeat in two decades in local elections at the end of March, and many religious voters supported the Islamist New Welfare party, which had called for hardline measures against Israel.

On Thursday, the White House said a pier built by the US military to facilitate the flow of aid into the territory would be open within days. However, the UN says a maritime corridor can never be a substitute for delivery by land and that land routes are the only way to bring in the bulk of supplies needed.

A recent UN-backed report offered hard statistical evidence that the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza was turning into a man-made famine. The UN’s most senior human rights official, Volker Türk, told the BBC that there was a “plausible” case that Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. Israel denies limiting aid deliveries and has blamed the UN for failing to distribute it to those in need inside Gaza.

The suspension of trade by Turkey is a significant move and reflects the growing tension between the two countries. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, and the decision by Turkey is a response to this crisis. The situation in Gaza requires urgent attention and a resolution that will allow for the delivery of aid to those in need.

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