Shipping containers at Haifa port
Shipping containers at Haifa portIsrael news photo: Flash 90 / Moshe Shai

Although there is still plenty of tension in the relations between Israel and Turkey, Israeli exports to the country reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2013. The total amount of Israeli exports to Turkey, not including diamonds, reached $560 million in the first three months of 2013, 44% higher than a year earlier, the Israel Export Institute said Sunday.

The largest sector of Israeli exports to Turkey is in chemicals and processed petroleum products. Those two areas accounted for 75% of all Israeli exports to Turkey during the period, and exports in those two areas were up 67% from the first quarter of 2012. Exports in other areas were up 22% from a year before, and included printing equipment, robotics, agricultural and irrigation equipment, and food.

A major increase in the first quarter of 2013 over a year previous was in the export of electronics, which includes machinery, electric equipment, and alternative energy systems. Exports in those areas rose 158% compared to the first quarter of 2012, with a total o $19 million of electronics exported to Turkey in the first quarter of 2012.

In an interview with the Calcalist economics daily, Ramsy Gabai, head of the Israel Export Institute, said that the increase in Israeli exports to Turkey had more to do with Turkey's needs for high quality products made in Israel, than in improved political relations between the two countries. However, he said, with the improved diplomatic atmosphere, he was sure Israel would be doing even more business with Turkey in the coming months.

Israeli relations with Turkey reached a low point following the attempted lynch of IDF soldiers by Hamas and Hizbullah supporters on the Mavi Marmara in 2010, as soldiers boarded the flotilla bound for Gaza. IDF soldiers in self defense shot and killed nine of the terror group sympathizers. Turkey demanded Israel apologize and compensate the families of those killed, and in late April of this year Israel agreed to do so. The figures cited by the Export Institute were for a period before Israel made the apology.