Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at AK Party headquarters in Ankara
Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at AK Party headquarters in AnkaraREUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey's move to halt trade with Israel was designed to force the country to a ceasefire in Gaza, AFP reported.

"We have taken some measures to force Israel to agree to a ceasefire and increase the amount of humanitarian aid to enter" Gaza, Erdogan was quoted as having told a group of businessmen in Istanbul.

"We will oversee the consequences of this step we have taken in coordination and consultation with our business world," the Turkish leader added.

"We do not run after hostility or conflict in our region," Erdogan continued. "We do not want to see conflict, blood or tears in our geography. We know now that we did the right thing."

"We have one goal here, and that's to force the Netanyahu government, which went out of control with the unconditional military and diplomatic support of the West, to a ceasefire," he said.

"If a ceasefire is declared and an adequate amount of humanitarian aid is allowed to enter Gaza, the goal will be achieved."

The Turkish Trade Ministry announced on Thursday it had suspended all export and import operations with Israel due to what it described as its "aggression against Palestine in violation of international law and human rights."

The move came several weeks after Turkey restricted exports to Israel of 54 product categories.

At the time, Turkey said the reason for the move was Israel denying a Turkish request to join air drops of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Israel and Turkey formally announced in August of 2022 that they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls, after years of tensions.

However, since the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza, Erdogan has resumed his frequent verbal attacks on Israel.

In one speech, the Turkish President said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “committed one of the greatest atrocities of this century in Gaza and has already put his name down in history as the butcher of Gaza."

In March, Erdogan again lashed out at Israel and at Netanyahu, saying they are “like today’s Nazis.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz later summoned the Turkish deputy ambassador for a reprimand in the wake of Erdogan's attacks on Netanyahu.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)