Turkey says stands behind promise for $200 million aid to Palestine
Cihan PhotoAttacks by opposition parties against the government over its perceived failure to keep its promises of assistance to the Gaza Strip appear to have prompted a top Turkish agency to list in detail the country’s assistance to Gaza, which has long been strangled by blockades, war and poor governance.
In 2014 alone, Turkey supplied aid worth $76.3 million, while the total amount of aid will reach $200 million by October 2017, state-run Anadolu Agency reported May 25.
Although these facts are obvious, “well-known circles” who don’t have the guts to criticize Israel have launched a “disinformation” campaign against Turkey, Serdar Çam, the president of the Prime Ministry’s Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), told the agency.
The issue heated up following last week’s release of the latest World Bank economic update on Gaza which stated that Gaza’s economy is on the “verge of collapse” and its unemployment rate is now the highest in the world, thanks to blockades, war and poor governance.
The bank also said international donors, including Turkey, should continue disbursing the $3.5 billion pledged for the recovery of Gaza. Turkey has delivered only 0.26 percent of the $200 million aid so far, the bank said.
Turkey pledged $200 million aid for Palestine for the 2015-2017 period at a conference held in Cairo in 2014.
Turkey has provided $300 million in seven years through TİKA, Anadolu Agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş as saying.
Turkey’s disaster agency AFAD delivered some $100 million, apart from humanitarian aid provided by civic organizations, Kurtulmuş said.
TİKA has finished housing worth $200 million, but the agency could not hand them over to Gazans due to the blockade and because necessary permission was not given.
Kurtulmuş also said Turkey was conducting projects to maintain electricity and water for Gaza.
In 2014, Turkey provided $34.7 million in public development aid and $24.5 million in urgent aid for Palestine, according to figures of the Public Diplomacy Coordinating Office. Some $9.4 million aid for development, along with $7.7 million in urgent aid is being provided by civic society, according to the same figures.
Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt have severely restricted the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza since 2007, after Hamas took over the Palestinian territory.