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In Türkiye, the “freedom flotilla” for Gaza is ready to set sail

Photo: Screenshot of a video posted on Twitter by IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Quebecer Nimâ Machouf will be part of the “freedom flotilla” for Gaza.

Ionut Iordachescu – Agence France-Presse to Tuzla

Posted at 10:37 a.m.

  • Middle East

A “freedom flotilla” is set to set sail for Gaza from the Turkish port of Tuzla (west) to force the blockade and bring aid to the population of the Palestinian enclave .

At least three vessels carrying 5,000 tonnes of food, drinking water and medical aid are awaiting the green light from Turkish authorities to weigh anchor from this port on the Sea of ​​Marmara, south of 'Istanbul, if possible next week, said the organizers on Friday.

Some 280 activists, rights defenders, lawyers and doctors are ready to take their place on board, coming from more than thirty countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Norway, Germany, Spain or Malaysia.

In front of the press, they demanded a guarantee of their free passage and an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza territory subject to Israeli blockade and bombing since October 7.

Ann Wright, peace activist and former colonel in the US army, who said she “resigned in 2003 to protest the war in Iraq”, warned the Israeli authorities: “Any attempt to 'Boarding or attacking our ships will be illegal,' she warned.

“We represent civil society demanding peace and justice. We ask the world to guarantee our security in order to deliver basic necessities to our brothers and sisters in Gaza,” added Ms. Wright.

“As you know, this flotilla is not the first,” she said, referring to a previous expedition that remained famous because it was a source of great tensions between Israel and Turkey.

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The previous one from 2010

In 2010, a “freedom flotilla” of eight cargo ships carrying nearly 700 passengers, humanitarian aid and construction materials, set sail from Antalya to try to force the blockade of the strip. of Gaza and supply the population.

Nine days after his departure, on May 31, an Israeli military operation and the boarding of one of its ships, the Mavi Marmara, left ten dead and 28 injured among the militants and ten injured on the other side. Israeli.

After this operation, relations between Israel and Turkey experienced a succession of crises until the complete restoration of their diplomatic ties in August 2022, with the return of ambassadors and consuls to the two countries.

“What the Palestinian people are enduring right now is unimaginable,” Ms. Wright insisted. “The siege of Gaza is illegal, it is a form of collective punishment and constitutes a war crime.”

“Israel attacked our fleet in 2010, killed ten of our volunteers without ever having been held accountable,” added American lawyer Huwaida Arraf, Palestinian keffiyeh around her neck.

“But just as the siege of Gaza is illegal, any attempt by Israel to attack us or attempt to intercept our ships will be against the law,” she insisted.

Malaysian obstetrician-gynecologist Fauziah Mohd Hasan noted that while tensions continue to escalate between Iran and Israel, “the killings continue in Gaza.”

“We cannot let Israel distract the world from what is causing more and more death, disease and destruction in Gaza,” pleaded Dr. Hasan, referring to the “more than 50 000 pregnant women” in the cordoned off enclave.

“We know that women undergo cesarean sections without anesthesia, that they give birth to premature and too small babies, that they cannot breastfeed due to stress,” also says the Malaysian.

Turkey is one of the main countries providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population.

A ninth “Goodness Ship” sent by the Turkish government arrived at the Egyptian port of El-Arish on Friday, loaded with 3,774 tons of humanitarian aid.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116