Egypt, a close ally of Israel, is dragging down Turkish efforts to bring in wounded Palestinians for treatment. Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ announced that neither Israel nor Egypt allowed for the travel of those wounded in Israeli gunfire during a Gaza border protest against Israeli oppression.
Akdağ has said earlier this week that the fastest way to bring the wounded was airlift through Israel or Egypt, which controls the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip. "Neither of them has allowed it so far," Akdağ told reporters Wednesday. No permission was issued by Egypt for a Turkish airlift when Daily Sabah went to print on Friday. Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan has announced that those wounded in Monday's anti-occupation protests in Gaza would be treated in Turkey, noting that they allocated hospitals for a large number of the wounded. Hospitals in Gaza, which suffers from an Israeli blockade, is under-equipped and understaffed. Shortage of medicine also makes recovery difficult for patients.
Meanwhile, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing, the only way for Gazans to leave the Palestinian territories outside Israel, for the entirety of Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of Palestinians gathered on the Gaza Strip's eastern border Monday to take part in mass rallies to protest Israel's blockade as well as the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that angered the Muslim world seeing it as a sacred Muslim city and capital of a future Palestinian state. At least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were killed by cross-border Israeli gunfire in one of the deadliest single day massacres in Gaza since the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Egyptian-Turkish relations have been strained ever since the Egyptian military ousted Mohammed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, in 2013. Turkey has been very critical of the incident, describing his overthrow as a coup. However, despite their strained political ties, economic relations between Egypt and Turkey have been improving. A sign of change for the better in their relations occurred when Turkey declared a day of mourning last November for the victims of a militant attack on an Egyptian mosque that killed more than 300 people.