Turkey has announced plans to open a trade office in the West Bank city of Ramallah in a bid to promote its commercial ties with the Palestinians.
"We will open an office in Ramallah so we can improve contacts and enable our investors to work better," the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper quoted Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan as telling Turkish and Palestinian businessmen in Ankara, AFP reported.
The office will open within weeks in Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is based, said the Turkish minister, who called on Turkish investors to explore opportunities in the Palestinian territories.
Caglayan further pointed out that Turkish-Palestinian trade volume stood at some USD $30 million (21.7 million euros).
Traditionally seen as Israel’s only Muslim ally in the world, Turkey has turned into a voiced critic of Israel’s policies in the Middle East, giving its support to the Palestinians in the face of Israeli violations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Ankara’s relations with Tel Aviv plunged after it launched heavy criticism at Israeli leaders over a devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.
The fragile ties further plunged following Israel’s May 31 attack on a Turkish-organized aid convoy to the blockaded Palestinian coastal strip.
Israeli navy commandos stormed the six-vessel Gaza Freedom Flotilla while it was in international waters, claiming the lives of nine Turkish activists onboard the civilian fleet and leaving more than 40 others wounded.