Turkey now Israel's 3rd-Largest Export Market

Despite political tensions, Turkey has become Israel's third-largest export market, up from ninth-largest last year.<br/>

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Maayana Miskin, | updated: 14:51

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Flag of Turkey
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Turkey is now Israel's third-largest export market, despite political tensions, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute reported this week. Exports to Turkey totaled more than $500 million in the first quarter of 2010, 73% more than in the first quarter of 2009.

In the corresponding quarter of 2009 Turkey was Israel's ninth-largest export market.

Most of the growth was due to a major increase in exports of chemicals and refined oil products, which made up more than 50% of exports to Turkey.

Israel's top ten export markets, in order, are: the United States, the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, China, Italy, Britain, India, France, Canada.

Relations between Israel and Turkey began to cool in 2008 as Turkish leaders harshly criticized Israel over counter-terror activities in Gaza. In 2009, Turkey held joint military exercises with Syria, which is openly hostile to Israel.

Ties hit a low in mid-2010 when Turkish activists were killed in a clash with IDF soldiers after attacking the soldiers in an attempt to force their way through Israel's naval blockade of Hamas. Turkey demanded an apology for the incident; Israeli leaders refused. One MK offered an “apology” for not having taken harsher action.

Turkey canceled a major planned water sale to Israel in response.

In 2011 Turkey has continued to side with Israel's enemies, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan terming the openly genocidal Hamas group “a political group” and working to help the group reunite with Fatah.

However, Turkey has also called on Hamas to recognize Israel, and is reportedly making efforts to rebuild its previous relationship with Israel.