JERUSALEM – Numerous Israeli companies have begun either to sever or to suspend their commercial relations with Turkey in the wake of the flotilla to Gaza.
Dafna, a clothing company, canceled its plans to build a production factory in Turkey and decided to stop importing fabric from Turkey. “The incidents of the flotilla this week were the straw that broke us,” said yesterday Zvika Levinson, one of the owners of Dafna. “We wanted to transfer a production line to Turkey, but now there’s no chance. Our trade in fabric with Turkey has also dropped to zero. I’m in the process of looking into new markets in Taiwan and Eastern Europe.”
Eran Siv, the chairman of the Association of Renovation Contractors and the owner of Even Siv, which imports stones and other raw materials from Turkey to be sold in Israel, has decided to stop all activity with Turkey and canceled a scheduled business trip there. “I import from a Turkish supplier a very popular stone, which is intended mainly for swimming pools. In the wake of the new tension, I canceled the orders and I placed them instead with an Egyptian stone supplier. I won’t let the Turks make money on our backs.”
The veteran construction company Almogim has also decided to stop buying construction materials from Turkey. Gandi Gurevich, the CEO of Almogim, said that that decision had begun to crystallize in recent months in response to the worsening of relations and the displays of Turkish anti-Semitism, but a final decision was only made this week. He said that Almogim used to buy toilets, sinks, bathtubs, bath tiles, marble and other products from Turkey. Now, he said, no Turkish-made products would be bought to be installed in any new construction projects; instead, those products would be purchased in Eastern Europe and the Far East.
A large energy company also decided this week that it would scale back its activity in Turkey. The CEO, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because of a company branch in Istanbul, said yesterday, “We’ve recalled our representative from Turkey. Most of our new activity will be directed from now on towards Greece because of the political climate.”
The Israeli fashion company, Discrete, imports viscose fabric from Turkey. Yaakov Ganai, the director general and owner of the chain, said, “For the moment, I haven’t decided on an absolute termination of work, but I definitely understand that there is a serious problem and I am very leery of flying to Turkey in the shadow of the crisis, and my business obliges me to get an impression of the products and to have frontal working relations. I’m trying to figure out a different solution.”
Chairman of the Israel-Turkey Chamber of Commerce Menashe Carmon said, “We’ve stopped a few projects in real estate, research and development and energy. Israeli companies that are considering establishing factories in Turkey and partnerships are now going to think twice; there is an enormous volume of future activities that are now going to be either reexamined or are going to be stopped.
The refinery in Haifa is also liable to suffer as a result in the deterioration of relations with Turkey. The refinery reported yesterday that between seven and nine percent of its volume of projected sales in 2010 was earmarked for the Turkish market. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the refinery said, “Sales activities in Turkey in the various areas of activity are proceeding regularly.” The refinery is preparing itself to find alternative markets.