Report: Israeli Cafe Boycotts Turkish Coffee Amid Tensions

Ilan's chain to keep up ban until 'matters improve'; El Al: Firms stop funding employee trips to Turkey.

The Ilan's coffee chain on Sunday announced that it would stop selling Turkish coffee in response to the diplomatic tensions which arose of late between the two countries, Israeli media reported.

"We have decided for the time being to stop selling 'Istanbul coffee' - our Turkish coffee blend, and we shall keep doing it until matters improve," Michael Steg, director of marketing for the large Israeli chain, told the Ynet news website.

"We believe anyone can be active in his own way and this is our small and symbolic way of doing that," he told Ynet.

The tensions began last week when an international military exercise, which was supposed to be held in Turkey and to include the U.S. and NATO, were scrapped over Turkish opposition to Israel's participation.

Initially, Turkey said the reason for scrapping the drill was not political. But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu later linked the cancellation to Israel's war in the Gaza Strip last winter. Since news of the crisis broke, Israeli tourism to Turkey has apparently stymied.

An El Al official told Army Radio that many Israeli businesses have decided to stop subsidizing employee vacations to Turkey during the high season of Passover, which usually sees up to 80,000 Israeli visitors to Turkish resorts.

In the wake of criticism and verbal confrontations between Turkey and Israel surrounding Operation Cast Lead, both official and non-official, Israeli tourism to Turkey plummeted by about 60% in the first months of this year, and hotels catering to Israelis visiting Turkey were especially hard hit.