Turkish aid ship for Gaza Strip arrives at Israeli port

Aid coming from Turkey destined for Gaza has increased since Ankara normalised ties with Israel last year following a six-year hiatus.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

​A Turkish ship "Sefkat" carrying 10,000 tons of food and equipment for Gaza arrived at Israel's Ashdod port prior to entering the Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2017.

A Turkish aid ship carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip arrived at Israel's Ashdod port on Wednesday.

The ship carried 50,000 food packages, 5,000 tons of flour, 100 tons of biscuits, chocolates and cakes.

The vessel also carried 50,000 items of clothes, 18,100 toys, 32,000 sets of stationery and over 1,000 bicycles as Eid al Fitr presents for Palestinian children in the coastal enclave.

The aid ship was dispatched by the state-run Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and made an approximately 40-hour journey before docking at the Ashdod port, north of Gaza.

Turkish ambassador to Israel Kemal Okem, AFAD official Cengiz Akin and other diplomats were present at the port to welcome the ship.

"In line with instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year, we made our Gazan brothers and sisters happy [with the aid ship] before the Eid al Fitr,” Akin told Anadolu Agency.

“We are here again in Ashdod port, and we will begin to distribute these supplies tomorrow morning,” he said.

According to Akin, the ship aid supplies were coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AFAD.

In 2016, Turkey sent two aid ships to Gaza carrying more than 22,000 tons of aid supplies after Ankara normalised ties with Israel following a six-year hiatus.