Turkey increases aid to Gaza through Israeli crossing

Turkey increases aid to Gaza through Israeli crossing

Sevil Erkuş
Turkey increases aid to Gaza through Israeli crossing

Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of members of the a family who were killed in an Israeli airstrike, as they walk past the family’s damaged houses. AP photo

Amid the spiraling bloodshed in Gaza, Turkey continues to send aid to the Palestinian enclave through the Kerem Shalom border crossing in coordination with the Israeli army. Turkish agencies have been flowing aid into Gaza worth a total of $2.5 million and most of the assistance is based on local procurement, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The rest of the Turkish humanitarian assistance, food and medical treatment provided from Turkey, has been delivered into Gaza through Israeli crossings in line with the earlier practices between the two countries, the official added. The Israeli Embassy in Ankara contacted the Turkish authorities late July 11 and offered assistance with the coordination of delivering aid to the Gaza Strip, according to embassy officials.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry received the offer, but has initiated further cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Ankara considered the Israeli embassy’s initiative as part of their public diplomacy efforts because the delivery of Turkey’s humanitarian assistance is already provided in coordination with the Israeli army, which controls the border crossings, and the Palestinian Authority director of border crossings.

Turkey and Israel previously extended cooperation on assistance crossing into Gaza in 2012 and the recent aid is under the same customary practice, according to Turkish officials. As the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the coastal Palestinian enclave is regularly closed, Gaza has become dependent on goods brought from Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing.

The Turkish Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) has sent a total of $1.5 million to the World Health Organization’s Palestine Office, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry on July 12.  The office will use the money to support people in Gaza with aid and medicine.      

The Turkish Cooperation Agency (TIKA) has also started providing support services worth $1 million, the statement added. The Turkish Red Crescent has already sent food packages to 500 families in Palestine and will send another delivery to 1,500 others.  
The Turkish government has declared another $1 million to be sent to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to be used for people in Palestine.