NewsTurkish Aid to Gaza Blocked by Israel, Tensions Rise with Trade Curbs

Turkish Aid to Gaza Blocked by Israel, Tensions Rise with Trade Curbs

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Images source: © Getty Images | Michael M Santiago/Getty Images
8:49 AM EDT, April 9, 2024

"Israel has no excuse to block our attempt to drop aid to the starving residents of Gaza," stated Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. In response to Tel Aviv's actions, Ankara has imposed trade restrictions and announced additional measures.

Aid initiatives for the beleaguered Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip commenced in March, thanks to the United States. The Netherlands, France, and Spain have also joined this humanitarian effort.

"We requested to join this humanitarian operation with our (Turkish) air force transport aircraft. Today, we found out that Israel rejected our request, despite receiving a positive response from Jordanian authorities," expressed Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

Turkey has announced restrictions on exports of 54 product categories to the Gaza Strip, including essential building materials like cement, steel, and aluminum.

It's important to note that over the weekend, there were demonstrations against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, criticizing the nation's trade relations with Israel. According to the official Anatolia agency, citing trade ministry sources, trade between Turkey and Israel saw a significant decline from October 7, 2023—when Hamas launched an attack on Israel—to March 20, with a 33% decrease in overall trade. The data showed a 30% drop in Turkish exports to Israel and a 43% reduction in imports from Israel.

Israel Promises Improvement

So far, aid from Turkey to Gaza has been transported overland. However, since the conflict began, Israel has been obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians.

The UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick expressed hope this Monday for an increase in food supplies to the Gaza Strip amidst the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories.

"Israeli authorities have committed to improving the flow of humanitarian aid, following pressure from Washington. However, the timeline for any policy changes remains unclear," McGoldrick stated.

He believes that the political pressure in Israel, alongside the international condemnation after the killing of seven volunteers and workers from World Central Kitchen, including a Polish national, and months of UN advocacy, should lead to a boost in aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip.

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