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Trade between Israeli farms, Turkey booming amid diplomatic tensions

Jun 10, 2011 Trade

Israel's kibbutz exports to Turkey during first quarter of 2011 grew by 12 percent despite political tensions between the countries.

There are more than 250 kibbutz communal farms spreading across Israel. Exports to Turkey topped 28 million U.S. dollars in products ranging from irrigation systems, to plastic ware and food products, the Yediot Aharonoth daily reported.

The trend began in 2009, according to the report, with a 25- percent rise in exports in the first quarter of 2010.

Despite the cool diplomatic relationship between the countries since an incident last year, when a confrontation between a Gaza- bound aid flotilla and the Israeli navy troops left nine members dead on a Turkish ship, officials said strained government relations would not pose a problem for exporters.

"The positive export figures in spite of the political tensions prove that both sides feel a real desire and need to tighten the trade relations," Kibbutz Industries Association Chairman Yonatan Bassi said.

Israel and Turkey signed a free trade agreement in 2000, making Turkey the first Muslim country to sign a free trade accord with Israel.