Türkiye’s humanitarian aid allocated for residents of Gaza, which suffers from an Israeli blockade and an imminent offensive, is en route to Egypt on Friday. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they were planning assistance to the people of Gaza in the face of the absence of food, fuel and other vital needs. Media outlets reported that the aid was being delivered by planes to Egypt.
The aid, which includes food and health care material, will be transported by trucks to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which has been under heavy Israeli bombardment for days.
A Turkish Defense Ministry official on Thursday said that they were prepared to send aid, but it was a challenge to deliver it directly to Gazans under the current circumstances. Since Saturday’s offensive by Hamas, Israel laid a total siege on Gaza, where more than 2 million people live. The Rafah border crossing was bombed by Israel on Oct. 10. Egypt kept the crossing open and pleaded with Israel not to target it. It is currently the only connection to the outside world for Gazans, who are completely surrounded by Israel.
According to Egyptian security sources, talks between Egypt and the United States, Qatar and Türkiye discussed the idea of delivering humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula under a geographically limited cease-fire. Egypt said on Thursday it was directing international aid for the besieged Gaza Strip to el-Arish airport north of the Sinai Peninsula.
Fatma Meriç Yılmaz, head of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), said on Thursday that they were ready to deliver aid to Gaza but underlined that keeping the Rafah crossing open was critical to ensure the delivery. Yılmaz said they were operating an orphanage and soup kitchen in the region and their staff doubled efforts to help people in need. Yılmaz said on the sidelines of an event in the capital Ankara, that humanitarian aid workers were also targeted in attacks, noting that four members of the Palestinian Red Crescent were killed in the bombardment. “We are in coordination with the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD of Türkiye) and made all preparations. We’ll send aid whenever a corridor is open. We already started delivering aid materials from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),” she said.
On Friday, the Turkish Red Crescent’s social media account shared photos of aid packages bearing logos of the Red Crescent and AFAD that were unloaded at Egypt’s el-Arish airport. The non-profit organization has already launched an aid campaign for Gaza.