New figures show Turkey has been boosting its trade ties with Israel in recent years, despite the harsh anti-Israeli rhetoric used by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) showed that the volume of mutual trade between Turkey and Israel exceeded USD 5.6 billion in 2014, showing a nearly 50-percent increase from 2009.
According to TurkStat, Turkey exported more than USD 2.9 billion worth of goods to Israel in 2014, while its imports were USD 2.7 billion during the same year.
The trade volume between Ankara and Tel Aviv stood at USD 2.6 billion in 2009.
The rise in bilateral trade comes as Erdogan has been harshly criticizing Israel over its brutal and repressive policies against Palestinians in Gaza.
Turkey downgraded its ties with Israel after the Tel Aviv regime killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on a flotilla that was heading toward Gaza in 2010. Another Turkish activist later died of wounds from the attack. Ankara reacted harshly and while Israelis later apologized for the killings, the ties of the former allies remain to be normalized.
Since the 2010 flotilla incident, Turkish officials have taken a more outspoken rhetoric over Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
Now the Turkish opposition is accusing Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of populism and hypocrisy.
Faruk Logoglu, a senior member of opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), criticized the government for pursuing a “cheap and dishonest” policy in respect to Israel and the West.
“The AK Party acts pragmatically with Israel as well as the US and the European Union,” said Logoglu.
During the 2014 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 2,140 Palestinians dead, Turkish opposition groups urged the Ankara government to reconsider trade ties with Israel to express solidarity with the Gazans, a demand ignored by Ankara.