Turkish businesses and local authorities are joining a campaign, which first spread on social media, to boycott products manufactured in Israel due to its counterterrorism operation in Gaza.
According to English-language Today’s Zaman newspaper, the boycott campaign is the largest since a similar initiative that was launched following Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Municipalities from Turkey's largest cities, from Istanbul to small towns in Anatolia, have urged residents not to buy products made in Israel or which have links to Israel, in solidarity with the civilians in Gaza, the newspaper reported.
A total of 12 municipalities joined the calls to boycott Israeli products. The municipalities announced that certain products would not be allowed to be sold at cafes, shops and recreational facilities run by their local authorities.
Some municipalities openly named brands that they asked to be boycotted, one of them being Coca Cola, along with many others.
Users on Twitter and Facebook shared lists of products that are produced in Israel or manufactured by companies believed to have close ties to the Israeli government. The posts on social media also shared information for customers on how to spot Israeli goods in stores, according to Today’s Zaman.
A call urging supermarkets, stores and shops to boycott Israeli goods came from a large Turkish union late on Sunday. The Turkish Tradesmen's and Artisans' Confederation (TESK), which has more than 1.5 million member businesses, was expected to make an official call on members on Monday to help boycott Israeli products.
TESK President Bendevi Palandöken told Turkish press over the weekend that the confederation “is seriously considering a call for a boycott on Israeli goods.”
“We are currently determining which companies and products can be included in a boycott list,” he was quoted as having said.
“Turkish people are rather sensitive to the Gaza conflict and we have to heed the voice of the public, we can call for a boycott anytime,” he added.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continued his verbal attacks of Israel over its operation in Gaza.
Last week, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) hit back at Erdogan and reminded him of the Armenian Genocide, when in 1915 more than a million Armenians were murdered by Ottoman troops.
“In 1915 the Turks massacred a million and a half Armenians and he accuses us, who are fighting his friends in the Islamic movement, of genocide? Who wants a relationship with such a person?” wrote Katz.