A number of local supermarket chains are taking a political stand: They have decided to boycott products manufactured in Turkey.

The chains announced that they will stop working with Turkish suppliers. Among the firms involved is Blue Square, which operates the Mega, Mega in the City and Mega Bul stores, and imports flour and pasta from Turkey, through its own private label. The relationship with Turkish companies began to be problematic about a month ago, but recently was broken off, the company said.

"The Mega chain is heeding the voice of the public and has decided to stop importing pasta and flour products under its own label, which are produced in Turkey, and will seek alternative sources for its products," Blue Square announced yesterday.

Rami Levy, owner of the eponymous chain of supermarkets, also decided to cut off ties: "For reasons of ideology and conscience, it would be unacceptable for us to do nothing when the Turkish people behave this way. This is the minimum that we can do."

Levy says that under a private label he imports pasta, paper plates and ketchup from Turkey, but, "We can easily import disposable dishes from China, pasta from Italy - and we will find somewhere from which to import ketchup, too."

Rami Levy and Blue Square said that while they will remove goods from Turkey bearing their own labels, they will continue selling other products made in Turkey until they run out.

Rafi Sheffer, CEO of Brand For You, which markets the private labels of smaller chains, said he has not decided whether he will cut off ties with Turkish producers, and was critical of statements by Levy.

"Rami Levy has many products on his shelves that are made in Turkey, under different brands. If he really is boycotting Turkish items, he should not only remove products from Turkey under the private label," said Sheffer, whose company and Levy's are currently involved in a business dispute.

The Super Sol supermarket chain, the largest in the country, said yesterday that it is evaluating its relationship with Turkish firms.