Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan recently raised eyebrows when he deep-sixed Israeli diplomats from Turkey. But it was his later remarks broadcast on Al Jazeera television that Turkish warships would accompany Turkish aid vessels to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that dropped jaws. Warships? Why would Turkish warships need to escort Turkish flotillas aiming to break Israel’s legal counter-terrorism naval blockade? This alone might lead some to believe Turkey has been first in line to aid Palestinians in Gaza. Not so fast. United Nations records show Turkey is not just conservative when it comes to aiding Gazans but rather stingy.
Similar to the US and the EU (incidentally UNRWA’s biggest donors), Erdogan would either have to remove his chokehold on his checkbook, go through official Israeli entry points or coordinate efforts directly with the Red Cross or UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) if he had a genuine interest in aiding Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. But don’t count on it. Erdogan’s actions of late go as far as to slap the UN in the face. Even UN chief Ban Ki Moon stressed that flotillas attempting to bring aid are counterproductive, and the UN supported that stance. What do other countries think? The US, Canada, Britain, EU publicly discouraged flotillas too.
This brings up the real question: what’s really going on with Gaza? UN officials repeatedly confirm there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Humanitarian goods enter Gaza daily.
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