Turkey continues to support Palestinians despite growing trade with Israel

World Today

Turkey is standing by Palestine in its fight for international state recognition, but allegations that Palestinian terrorists have been planning attacks against Israel from Istanbul are increasing pressure on Ankara’s already fragile relations with Tel Aviv. CCTV’s Natalie Carney reported this story from Istanbul.

Turkey has openly supported both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, who run the Gaza Strip. Last month Turkey also welcomed Hamas leader Khaled Mashal last month.

Turkey continues to support Palestinians despite growing trade with Israel

Turkey continues to support Palestinians despite growing trade with Israel

Turkey is standing by Palestine in its fight for international state recognition, but allegations that Palestinian terrorists have been planning attacks against Israel from Istanbul are increasing pressure on Ankara’s already fragile relations with Tel Aviv. CCTV’s Natalie Carney reported this story from Istanbul.

“Hosting Khaled Mashal in Konya and the love we showed him was a sign of our support for Palestine. Hopefully we are going to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the following days as well,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Ankara’s relationship with Hamas is a little too cosy for Israel and the West, who have it listed as a terrorist organization.

Tel Aviv has accused Turkey of supporting terrorism by harboring Saleh al-Arouri, who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last summer.

Diplomatic ties with Israel hit a critical low after seven Turkish nationals were killed when Israeli soldiers boarded the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010.

Turkey has stood behind Palestine in practically every political move its made, while also lambasting Israel. However despite broken relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv, economic ties could trump diplomatic ones. Diverse bilateral trade between Turkey and Israel reached an all time high in 2014.

“As we see from 2010, from the Gaza flotilla, the Mavi Marmara incident until now, trade relations have blossomed. Not only blossomed, they’ve surged. It went from $3.5 billion to $5 billion,” said Louis Fishman, an expert in Turkey-Israel relations.

The closure of trade routes through Syria has led to Turkish trade crossing through the Israeli port of Haifa to reach other regional countries. According to Ankara, Turkish contract work in Israel reached over $1 billion in 2012. Turkey is also eager to see Israel export its newly discovered natural gas to Europe via one of its pipelines.

“I think its clear that only through strong Turkish-Israeli relations, can Turkey influence and make the lives of Palestinians better,” Fishman said.