Despite tensions, business booming between Turkey, Israel


The diplomatic tension between Turkey and Israel since a deadly attack last year on a Gaza-bound aid ship has not hampered mutual trade, which continues to rise on the sale of military and other goods. While Turkey purchases high-tech defense-industry equipment from Israel, the military goods going the other way mostly include boots and uniforms. "Turkey dresses the Israeli army, mainly exporting army boots," said an executive from Turkey's Yakupoglu, speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity. The company manufactures materials in Ankara and exports them to Israel. Despite the political problems between the two countries, there has been no interruption in the firm's business thus far, the executive said. The export of military boots constitutes just a tiny portion of the longstanding trade relations between the two parties, and both Turkish and Israeli businessmen are enjoying a golden age of trade as official figures indicate that commercial bonds are stronger than ever. Trade between Israel and Turkey rose 25 percent in 2009-2010, and 40 percent in the first quarter of 2011 year-on-year. Bilateral trade by the end of last year peaked at $3.44 billion, up from $2.58 billion in 2009. "Turkey and Israel's business relations are getting stronger despite the political conflicts," Uriel Lynn, head of the Tel Aviv & Central Israeli Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday.