Turkey sends second aid delivery to Gaza

Turkish aid for Gaza sent for the second time since relations were normalized between Israel and Ankara.

Elad Benari ,

Turkish flag
Turkish flag

Turkish aid for Gaza has been sent from the country's southern coast for the second time since relations were normalized between Israel and Ankara in June, a Turkish official said Saturday, according to the AFP news agency.

A humanitarian aid ship bound for southern Israel's Ashdod port left Mersin on Friday, the official said, "the second major shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza since an agreement was reached".

In July, Turkey sent 10 truckloads of supplies, including food parcels, toys and children's clothing and shoes to Gaza on the Panama-flagged Lady Leyla container ship.

The latest shipment is the first since Turkish lawmakers ratified the deal to normalize ties between the two countries last month. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the bill that provides legislative authority to the deal.

Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deaths of 10 pro-Hamas Turkish assailants who attacked Israeli soldiers during a raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship in 2010.

The official, who did not wish to be named, said Ankara had sent 100 wheelchairs, 1,000 bicycles, 100,000 backpacks and stationery kits, 300,000 pieces of clothing and 350,000 nappies.

The shipment also contained 1,288 tons of flour, 170 tons of rice, 64 tons of sugar, 95 tons of vegetable oil, the official said.

"We expect the items to be distributed to the people of Gaza before the upcoming Islamic holiday," the official said, referring to the Eid al-Adha holiday, around September 12.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, recently said that Turkey and Israel would begin the process of swapping ambassadors "in the coming days".