News / Middle East

Turkey-Israel Trade Remains Strong Despite Tensions

FILE - An employee stands behind a sign depicting a crossed out Turkish flag taped to the window of a coffee shop in Tel Aviv, Oct. 27, 2009.
FILE - An employee stands behind a sign depicting a crossed out Turkish flag taped to the window of a coffee shop in Tel Aviv, Oct. 27, 2009.
Dorian Jones
Despite a current low point in diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, trade between the countries continues to grow.

Turkey once ranked as Israel’s closest ally in the Muslim world, taking part in joint exercises with the Israeli and American navies in the Mediterranean and allowing Israeli jet pilots to train in Turkey’s relatively vast airspace.

But since 2010, when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens on a ship trying to break Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, diplomatic ties have hit a low point.

Adding to the tension were reports earlier this month that the Turkish government had disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.

The reports claimed Israeli intelligence had run part of its Iranian spy network through Turkey, whose border with Iran allows relatively easy movement between the two countries.

Despite the ongoing political tensions, however, trade between the two countries has remained largely unaffected.

Menashe Carmon is president of the Israel-Turkey Business Council.

"Politicians are coming and going and the business people remain. The tensions between the two countries are not tensions between the people. The trade between them is continuing. Trade volume is around $4 billion and this year we are expecting an increase," said Carmon.

Bilateral trade covers a wide range of goods, from foodstuffs to machinery to high tech. The figure $4 billion trade figure does not include military sales.

Israel has supplied, among other things, advanced electronic warfare systems to the Turkish Air Force.  And, despite bilateral tensions, Ankara has continued to honor its military contracts with Israel.

But the Israel-Turkey Business Council's Carmon said there has been some fallout. While some well-established private sector Israeli-Turkish business relationships continue to thrive. "Newcomers [who want] to invest in Turkey are reluctant, saying:  'I will wait until this crisis will [be] over, then I will consider an investment.'"

One thing that will contribute to an increase in bilateral trade is the Syria conflict.

According to Semih Idiz, a columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf and the al-Monitor website, Turkish exporters have been using Israel as a trade corridor in recent months, docking their vessels in Israeli ports and then transporting goods overland to Jordan and other Arab countries in order to bypass the civil war in Syria.

"Transit routes over Syria, and even perhaps over the Suez, may be sort of blocked -- if not fully, [then] partially. And it would make a lot of sense for Turkey to use - especially by sea route - Israel as [a] distribution point to other parts," said Idiz.

Despite an apology by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkey for the killings of the Turkish activists and talks over compensation to their families, observers do not expect any significant change in the current cool diplomatic relations. But the ongoing trade between the two countries remains an important indicator that despite the tensions, ties remain that could help warm relations in the future.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid