President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that a ship carrying food supplies, clothing and other necessities will be dispatched from Turkey to Gaza before Eid holidays on Friday, as he assured that Turkey would seek to improve the living standards of the people of Gaza following reconciliation with Israel.
Speaking to tradesmen at an iftar dinner in the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdoğan underscored that Turkey emphasized three conditions in order for relations with Israel to be normalized following the Mavi Marmara incident, with the first one being an apology, which the Israeli prime minister offered in 2013, compensation to the families of Mavi Marmara victims, and ease the blockade or embargo to improve the living standards of Palestinians.
Erdoğan underscored that Turkey will rebuild electrical lines, provide drinking water and address food, medical and housing needs in Gaza. ''From now on, all humanitarian assistance can be shipped to Gaza from Turkey'' he said and added that the vessel will depart Turkey's southern Mersin coast to deliver 14 tons of food and other necessities to the people of Gaza. He also noted that Turkey will move forward with the construction of the Jenin industrial zone in the West Bank.
Lady Leyla, a general cargo vessel is expected to leave Mersin for Gaza on Friday. According to reports, the aid will be prepared under the coordination of the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). A total of 10,000 toys for Gazan children, 10,000 food packages, 5,000 tons of flour, 2,000 tons of rice and 3,000 tons of sugar provided by the Turkish Red Crescent will be sent by the vessel.
The president also said that Turkey consulted its Palestinian brothers at every step during negotiations with Israel.
''We will continue to object to Israel's unlawful practices in Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa'' Erdoğan said, while he noted that Turkey will take necessary steps to address the grievances of Palestinian people.
Erdoğan thanked U.S. President Barack Obama and everyone else for their contribution to the agreement between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also touched on the letter he sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his regrets about what happened and reminded him of potential areas of cooperation between Turkey and Russia.
''I believe we will normalize our relations as soon as possible and normalization will be beneficial for both countries'' he said.