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Israeli construction industry: Turkish export restrictions could increase property prices

Numerous materials used in construction were among products the Turkish government restricted earlier this week
New buildings in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, on 29 February 2024 (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

New restrictions on Turkish exports to Israel could drive an increase in property and rent prices, Israeli businessmen have warned.

The Turkish government imposed restrictions on exports to Israel earlier this week, after the issue of exports was cited by many as a factor in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s poor local election results.

Despite repeated criticism of Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, trade had continued between Israel and Turkey, including in raw materials such as cement.

Sources familiar with the construction industry told Israeli news outlet Mako that the new restrictions were expected to increase the prices of apartments in the country if they are implemented.

The restrictions announced by the Turkish Ministry of Trade include 54 products, many of which are used in the construction sector, such as aluminium wire, steel, cement, granite and bricks.

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Businessmen now fear it could be the first step in a move towards a cessation of trade entirely.

"There is a real fear of a boycott and Turkish sanctions on behalf of other countries and international companies," said Dubi Amitai, head of the Israeli Presidency of Business Organizations.

Yoel Amir, CEO of credit insurance company CofaceBdi, also warned of the impact on the construction sector.

"Turkey's move to limit the export to Israel of dozens of products, which constitutes a violation of the trade agreements… may have an impact on the Israeli economy and first and foremost on the construction industry," he said.

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On Monday, the Turkish trade ministry said that Israel continued to "flagrantly violate international law" and ignore calls for ceasefires and the uninterrupted provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including recent decisions by the UN Security Council and judgments by the International Court of Justice.

"The decisions of the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice are legally binding," the ministry said. "Turkey has repeatedly stated that it will monitor the implementation of all these decisions."

Other products now blocked from being sold to Israel include chemicals, pesticides, engine oils and jet fuel.

This development occurred after the AKP suffered a defeat in the 31 March local elections, losing votes to the Turkish Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP), which managed to secure victories over the AKP in several cities.

While Turkey’s continuing trade with Israel was not the biggest issue prompting conservative voters to stay at home or switch parties, it was a factor for others. It was even acknowledged by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a party meeting earlier this week on the election results, according to party sources.

Speaking about the AKP’s worst election defeat since 2002, Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, even on an issue like the Gaza crisis, for which we did everything we could and paid the price, we failed to fend off political attacks and convince some people.” 

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