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Turkey’s exports to Israel continue despite anti-Israeli rhetoric

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Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) show that Turkey’s exports to Israel are continuing despite growing anti-Israel rhetoric in response to Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, the Karar daily reported.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 11,000 people — mostly civilians — have been killed in four weeks of war in Gaza.

The Israeli attacks started after Hamas militants killed some 1,400 people in Israel — also mostly civilians — and took over 240 hostages in an unprecedented attack on Oct. 7.

The ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza have sparked angry protests and calls for a boycott of Israeli companies and pro-Israel brands in Turkey as well as in other parts of the world.

Turks’ decision to boycott Israel-related products is not expected to hurt the Israeli economy, while Turkey’s sizable exports continue unabated.

Turkey stands at the same level of export as Germany, following China and the US, in sales to Israel, having sold $1.192 billion worth of steel and iron in 2022, according to TİM, as cited in a column by İbrahim Kahveci in the Karar daily on Monday.

“According to the latest six-month average from TurkStat on foreign trade, we are selling goods worth $450 million monthly to Israel. That amounts to $5.4 billion annually. In fact, our exports have even surged to $7 billion in recent years. Last year, from January to October, we sold goods worth $5.568 billion to Israel,” the journalist said.

According to Kahveci, the Turkish parliament’s recent decision to no longer sell the products of companies known to support Israel at the cafeterias, teahouses and restaurants in the parliament was merely symbolic since Turkey continues its strategic steel sales to Israel.

Although the parliament did not refer to any specific product in its announcement for the decision, Reuters reported last week, citing a parliamentary source, that Coca-Cola beverages and Nestle instant coffee were the only brands removed from menus.

Kahveci also claimed that companies affiliated with Turkish groups in Turkey represent the Israeli brands boycotted by the parliament and the Turkish public, saying that the government led people to believe that they would halt Israel by boycotting Turkish companies.

“Have you heard of any restrictions on the sale of strategic goods, particularly those used in bomb-making, to Israel?” the journalist asked readers.

Kahveci also criticized the fact that while anti-Israel demonstrations, with hundreds of thousands participating in developed countries, including the UK, continue every weekend, Turkey’s ruling coalition has organized only one rally, without inviting any members from opposition parties.

“Why aren’t our streets filled against the cruel Israel every weekend? … Even in Israel, there are more demonstrations against Netanyahu than in Turkey,” Kahveci said.

Meanwhile, journalist Metin Cihan said over the weekend in a series of tweets that since the Israeli-Hamas conflict began, 253 ships have sailed from Turkey to Israel, carrying cargo such as crude oil, fuel, iron, and steel. Cihan also shared a list of ships transporting goods from Turkey to Israel, emphasizing that the shipments are still ongoing.

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