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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid