Turkey halted trades on the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange as a major selloff triggered circuit breakers twice following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vitriol against Israel over its attacks on Gaza and his defense of Hamas as “liberators,” state broadcaster TRT reported.
The trading of equities, equity derivatives and debt repo transactions were automatically halted twice within an hour after the Borsa Istanbul 100 index fell as much as 7 percent on Wednesday.
The index had initially opened the week on a positive note, rising 0.57 percent to 8,035 points. However, it began to fall in the second half of the day, dropping to 7,590 points—a 5.01 percent decline—before the halt in trading was triggered.
Borsa İstanbul A.Ş announced that trading was temporarily halted across all boards in the stock market and would resume at 17:19 local time. However, the decline continued, reaching over 7 percent and triggering the circuit breaker for the second time.
The banking index also suffered, losing over 5 percent, while the most traded stocks included Turkish Airlines, Borusan Mannesman Boru, Ereğli Iron Steel, Odaş Electricity and Tüpraş.
Erdoğan’s comments on Hamas played a role in the market’s sharp decline. In a statement he criticized Israel and described Hamas as “liberators and mujahedeen [warriors] who are fighting to protect their land and people,” contrasting with views held by the US and much of the Western world that label Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Trading is expected to resume this evening, according to Borsa İstanbul.