Published on 12 April 2013, by M. Tomazy.
Turkish opposition members have embarrassed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by revealing that in the past three years, while the relations between Ankara and Jerusalem were at an all-time low, his son continued doing business with Israel.
The son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan, is the owner of the MB Shipping company, which holds two cargo vessels. One of them, Safran-1, has sailed between Turkish and Israeli ports several times, transferring goods back and forth.
The ship, which is 95 meters (312 feet) long, last docked at the Ashdod Port on January 12 – about three months before the end of the crisis between the countries.
An assistant to the chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Erdogan's main opposition in the Grand National Assembly, slammed the Turkish prime minister over his "hypocrisy" during a press conference in Ankara.
Fellow opposition members directed a series of questions at Erdogan: "Has your son been exempted from the trade embargo against Israel? Is it ethical? What share of the volume of trade with Israel did the ship owned by your son take?"
Yet the Turkish parliament members made a wrong assumption: In fact, Turkey never declared a trade embargo against Israel event at the height of the diplomatic crisis. Erdogan did announce that he was suspending economic ties with Israel, but later clarified that he had only referred to defense-related trade.
During the crisis between Israel and Turkey, trade ties between the two countries thrived, reaching an all-time high of $4 billion – a 30% increase.