Turkey’s trade ban on Israel is hurting both countries

As of 2023, Turkey was Israel’s fourth-largest trading partner and represented a major trading route and supplier of kosher food.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The trade ban Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan imposed on Israel to protest its war against Gaza has harmed both countries economically and may pose a particular danger to the kosher food industry.

Although Israeli and Turkish leaders have often engaged in a war of words, their trading ties have been generally healthy, and relations between the countries had reached a high point prior to October 7th.

However, given Erdogan’s support for Hamas and pressure from his citizens, on May 3rd, the Turkish leader announced a cessation of trade with Israel, one of the most draconian measures taken against the Jewish State since the beginning of the current war in Gaza.

As of 2023, Turkey was Israel’s fourth-largest trading partner and represented a major trading route and supplier of kosher food.

Rami Simon, a Turkish Jew involved in trade with Israel, lamented the halt in business activities, stating, “For the last two weeks, everything stopped. We can’t do normal business.”

Not only has the trade ban led to supply issues and rising prices in Israel on common items such as chocolate, tomatoes and also construction supplies, but the kosher food industry has been hit particularly hard by the ban.

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Turkey is home to 300 kosher certified factories and as a result of the cessation of trade, there is now a global shortage in kosher supervised food products.

In addition, 20 Israeli kosher supervisors or mashgichim once traveled throughout Turkey to certify products.

However, contracts between Israeli kosher supervisors and Turkish factories have been revised or terminated since trade between the two countries ended.

Although Turkey insisted the trade ban was put in place until Israel agreed to a ceasefire, it’s uncertain whether the end of the war will see normalized trade once again between Israel and Turkey.

Given the instability of the connection between the two countries, it’s likely that Israel will be in search of other markets that are less apt to impose trade bans if Israel should need to take military action in the future.