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Turkish parliament dumps Coke, Nestle from menus over alleged Israel support

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets lawmakers of his AK Party t in the Turkish parliament in Ankara

Turkey’s parliament removed Coca-Cola (KO.N) and Nestle (NESN.S) products from its restaurants on Tuesday over their alleged support for Israel amid the conflict in Gaza, according to an official statement and a source who named the two companies.

The two companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The products of companies that support Israel will not be sold in restaurants, cafeterias and tea houses in the parliament campus,” Turkey’s Grand National Assembly said, without identifying the companies.

Speaker Numan Kurtulmus made the decision, it added, in order to “support public sensitivity regarding boycotting products of companies who have openly declared their support for Israel’s war crimes (and) killing of innocent people in Gaza”.

A parliamentary source said Coca-Cola beverages and Nestle instant coffee were the only brands removed from menus, adding the decision was meant to respond to “huge public outcry against these companies” for supporting Israel.

Neither the parliament statement nor the source specified how Coca-Cola and Nestle supported Israel’s war effort.

Last month Nestle said it temporarily shut down one of its production plants in Israel as a “precaution”, becoming the first consumer products giant to announce a response to the war.

Turkish activists have in recent days named both companies in social media posts that call for boycotts of Israeli goods and Western companies they view as endorsing Israel.

The Turkish parliament’s move is among the first by a government or major organisation to target big global brands over the month-long war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Elsewhere, the Barcelona port stevedores’ union refused to load and unload any military material amid the war in Gaza, while Belgian transport unions refused to handle military equipment being sent to Israel.

Over the past month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his government have sharply criticised Israel’s assault on Gaza and Western support for Jerusalem.

Israel has bombarded Gaza since a Hamas raid on southern Israel a month ago, when its fighters killed 1,400 people and seized 240 hostages.

Gaza health officials say Israel’s assault has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, including some 4,100 children.

Hundreds of thousands of Turks have taken to the streets to protest against Israeli operations into Gaza over the past month.

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