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“Türkiye not intimidated by threat of Western retaliation”

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye has taken trade precautions to force Israel to implement the International Criminal Court’s (ICJ) cease-fire decision and to let an increased amount of humanitarian aid into Gaza, noting that Ankara is not intimidated by the threat of retaliation for this decision.

Speaking at a gathering organized by one of Türkiye’s top business associations, the Independent Industrialists and Businesspersons Association (MÜSIAD) in Istanbul, Erdoğan said the sole purpose of Türkiye’s decision to halt trade with Israel was to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abide by the cease-fire decision.

He noted that Türkiye knows how the West will attack it for halting trade with Israel, but is not intimidated and will not back down.

“We will stand upright. We are aware that what we are doing right now is the right thing to do. If we do not stand up for these people (Palestinians) today, who will stand up for us if we experience something similar in the future?” the president said.

The president said Türkiye’s goal would be fulfilled when a cease-fire is reached and a sufficient amount of humanitarian aid enters the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

“Türkiye’s move will be an example for other countries,” he said.

Erdoğan continued by saying that Türkiye does not pursue hostility or conflict with any country in the region.

“We don’t want to see clashes, bloodshed and tears in our geography,” he said.

The Turkish president has frequently warned of a spillover of conflict and has urged restraint amid regional tensions.

Late Thursday, Türkiye’s Trade Ministry announced it is suspending all trade activities with Israel over its relentless military campaign against Palestinians in Gaza until a permanent cease-fire is secured as well as Israel allowing unhindered humanitarian aid flow to the region.

The decision made Türkiye the first of Israel’s key trade partners to halt exports and imports over its campaign in Gaza.

The bilateral goods exchange between the two countries stood at nearly $7 billion (TL 226 billion) a year.

The Gaza Strip is suffering a humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s unprecedented genocidal airstrikes and bombardments that have been raging since Oct. 7, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning of impending famine.

Israel’s offensive has killed nearly 34,600 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to local health officials.

The latest round of the conflict started after the Palestinian resistance group Hamas’ attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to Israel.

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