A chartered Boeing 747 packed with supplies is being sent by Israel's Defense Ministry to eastern Turkey's disaster zone following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Van province, killing up to 1,000 people earlier this week.
"It's cold, it's dark, and rain has begun," a resident of Turkey, who preferred not to be identified, told Arutz Sheva late Tuesday night. "There have been two other big earthquakes after the first one... the building constructions are really bad, so they cannot enter the wreckage. And shocks are continuing."
After two days of trying to cope on its own and repeatedly refusing offers of help from others, Turkey finally asked Israel for assistance.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, meanwhile, told the Kapatmadik newspaper while on a working visit to Serbia that in fact, Turkey had not rejected any offers of assistance at all. "This is not an accurate statement, and I was amazed," he told the newspaper in an interview published Tuesday. "No one was at the door," he said. "To the contrary, all these offers arrived last night, and the prime minister and [the province] and I thanked all those countries... more than 20 came to offer help, and there is no hesitation about it."
Because Azerbaijan and Iran are on Turkey's borders near the disaster zone, said the foreign minister, they immediately sent rescue workers to help, and "not at our request."
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc likewise told the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper Tuesday that the "rumors" about Turkey's refusal of aid from Israel were untrue and "ugly."
Arinc told the newspaper, "Whoever is doing this is doing something horrendous. We may not be on the best of terms with Israel on a governmental basis. Yet to respond negatively to such humane offers of the Israeli government in the wake of such disaster would have been wrong and inappropriate. It is completely untrue that we refused their help on separate agendas," he was quoted as saying.
Israel's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said a request for mobile homes was made through the Israeli embassy in Ankara. The Defense Ministry responded by chartering a civilian plane to bring seven prefabricated homes to the devastated province of Van.
"There were so many aid groups from all of Turkey's regions, but the organizational skills are lacking," the source told Arutz Sheva.
"I wish they had accepted the reality that they need more experts in the region before."