Israeli and Turkish flags 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The deterioration of Israeli- Turkish diplomatic relations has not affected the
links between the two countries’ private sectors, according to the winner of the
Israel-Turkey Business Council’s award for company of the year.
Group subsidiary UBSI, the exclusive Israeli importer for leading Turkish bus
and truck manufacturer BMC, was presented the 2010 award at company headquarters
in the Nazareth industrial zone Thursday night.
Business with BMC has
continued growing at its usual pace over the past three years, CEO Tawfiq Afifi
told The Jerusalem Post
by telephone earlier in the day.
There had been
no objections from either Turkish suppliers or Israeli clients who purchase the
imported vehicles, he said.
“The relations between Israel and Turkey have
had their ups and down, but in the end it will always be a good relationship
business-wise,” Afifi said. “It has not affected us. We [concentrate on]
bringing buses that are suitable for the market, with the right service, and
that is what is important for the clients.”
Thursday night’s event was
attended by about 300 people, including BMC’s deputy president.
Turkish journalists also flew in for the event, including reporters from the
Aksam and Vatan dailies and the Turkish Radio and Television
Previous winners of the award include Flying Carpet, for
wholesale tourism, and Tahal and Lipman, for civil engineering and
Since UBSI’s establishment in 2008 by the Afifi family
group, it has become the third-largest importer of buses in Israel. Many of the
350 buses bought from Turkey are used by Afifi subsidiaries operating domestic
lines in northern and central Israel and international routes to Amman and the
Sinai. In addition, UBSI distributes BMC buses to other Israeli transportation
Until a few years ago, the Afifi Group made do by purchasing
European-manufactured buses from other Israeli distributors, Tawfiq Afifi
“We have been in the business of buses since the late ’20s,” he
said. “As a family we know our needs, and we have always looked at buses that
can compete with others both price-wise and quality- wise. In BMC we found
quality buses; as you know, today, Turkey is very strong
Bilateral civilian trade between Israel and Turkey has
grown 30 percent over the past two years, Israel-Turkey Business Council board
member Daniel Zimet told the Post. With the exception of Turkish tourism, which
has suffered from the almost complete absence of Israeli visitors, relations
have remained strong across the private sector, he said.
receives calls all the time from Turkish companies who want to do business with
Israel,” Zimet said.