News / Europe

Turkey-Israel Trade Unaffected by Diplomatic Spats

A prefabricated home sent by Israel is seen next to an Israeli cargo plane before being transported to the earthquake zone, at Esenboga airport in Ankara October 27, 2011.
A prefabricated home sent by Israel is seen next to an Israeli cargo plane before being transported to the earthquake zone, at Esenboga airport in Ankara October 27, 2011.
Dorian Jones

Israel was one of the first countries to answer Turkey's appeal for help after last week's deadly earthquake. It was an important gesture, as relations between the formerly close allies had hit rock bottom recently. Business between the two countries, however, has continued to boom. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

Turkey downplayed Israel's offer of post-quake assistance, saying Israel was just one of many nations providing aid to the country's battered southeast. Both sides have dismissed any hope of an early thaw in their icy diplomatic relationship.

But that has not affected the booming trade between the countries, according to chief economist Emre Yigit, who works for the Turkish financial trading house Global Securities.

"Overall it appears Turko-Israel trade relations have not suffered in the slightest," said Yigit.

The ongoing political fight saw Ankara expelling senior Israeli diplomats earlier this year. But the trade attaches were allowed to remain. Israel's trade attache in Istanbul, Joe Abraham, says business people have different perspectives than politicians.

"Business is a long-term effort, so it does not surprise me," said Abraham.  "Companies and people when they do business, they do business because it is [a] win-win solution. It's business people [who] are willing to do business because they need each other. Because trade between Israel and Turkey is quite complimentary."

Israel exports chemicals, agriculture products and high-tech manufacturing machinery to Turkey, while Turkey exports textiles and transport equipment to Israel.

The economy in both countries is growing, and they are a good match. According to Menashe Carmon, president of the Israel-Turkey Business Council, bilateral trade increased 35 percent last year. He said the figure could have been even higher without the current diplomatic tensions.

"Joint ventures, or new investments, or partnerships between the new markets, especially for new-comers, are not developed as expected," said Menashe.  "Because the environment is not as favorable for that, so people wait, and don't invest in a market, which is not clear."

Maintaining bilateral trade is important. Turkey is now Israel's sixth most important trading partner. Fears that the current diplomatic spat could spill over into the economic sector prompted Israel's central bank chief, Stanley Fisher, to warn of the economic consequences of such an event. Political scientist Soli Ozel says despite the fiery rhetoric from the Turkish prime minister toward Israel, pragmatism rules the day.

"Trade embargo? I doubt it, because the trade volume is almost $3 billion between the two countries," said Ozel.

Turkey's western allies, in particular Washington, are concerned about the ongoing diplomatic tensions. But the booming trade is seen as an important sign that however bitter the dispute is, it still remains under control. Israeli trade attaché Abraham says the healthy trade ties could offer hope of a rapprochement.

"I hope this will serve as [a] bridge in the future for even better trade relations and not only trade, maybe even in other areas," Abraham added.

Few observers expect a warming of relations anytime soon. But there is a commonly held belief that countries that trade with one another seldom go to war.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs