Turkish business executives are seeking duplicate passports from their government, one for travel to Israel and one for countries such as Iran where travel to Israel is not permitted, Istanbul’s Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.
The businesspeople are complaining that Iran and Israel turn away travelers with stamps in their passports from certain countries. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has agreed to examine the idea, the newspaper reported.
There are some business executives who already maintain two Turkish passports, but they are required to keep one deposited with the local police, causing inconvenience and disruption to business, the report said.
The plea for duplicate passports comes as Turkish-Israeli trade ties remain strong despite severe strains in diplomatic relations. Two-way trade grew from $1.47 billion in 2009 to a peak of $4 billion in 2011 before dropping 13% last year to $3.5 billion, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. In January 2013, trade jumped 14% over the previous year to $341.4 million, CBS figures showed.
Meanwhile, Turkish air carriers said Monday they are planning to boost the number of flights to and from Israel.
In April, Turkish Airlines is scheduled to increase the number of weekly flights between Istanbul and Tel Aviv from 32 to 39. Another Turkish carrier, Pegasus Airlines, said it would double the number of flights on its Istanbul-Tel Aviv route from one to two daily.
Charter carriers operating out of Turkey will run 15 to 20 flights from Israel to the resort city of Antalya during the Passover holiday, up from the current two flights a week.