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Turkey’s defense ministry ready for humanitarian aid, evacuation efforts in Gaza

Nazeer al-Khatib / AFP

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are ready to take on responsibilities for both humanitarian aid and evacuation in Gaza in line with directives to be given, according to sources from the country’s defense ministry, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

Col. Zeki Aktürk, the ministry’s press and public relations consultant, spoke about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict during the ministry’s weekly press briefing on Thursday.

He emphasized the importance of the prompt cessation of conflicts between Israel and Palestine for regional and global peace, the immediate halt of attacks on civilians in Gaza, and the necessity for mutual positive steps to be taken for a lasting solution.

Aktürk also condemned the deadly strike on a hospital in war-torn Gaza that killed hundreds.

“The killing of innocent civilians, the majority of whom are children and women, in blatant disregard for international law and the most fundamental humanitarian values, is a point where humanity ceases to exist,” the colonel said.

The ministry sources also indicated that the TSK is ready to participate in both humanitarian aid and evacuation operations, following the directives to be provided, in the aftermath of the attack.

Situated in the heart of Gaza, the hospital, managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, was hit on Tuesday when it was overflowing with Palestinians seeking refuge as a result of a series of Israeli aerial assaults throughout the heavily blockaded Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs the territory, accused Israel of being behind the strike. The Israeli army blamed it on a misfired rocket by Hamas ally the Islamic Jihad, which has described the accusations as “lies.”

The conflict started when Hamas fighters carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

The Islamist group launched thousands of rockets from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and crossed the border with hundreds of militants, prompting Israel to retaliate by pounding Gaza.

Hamas has killed over 1,400 Israelis, including 289 soldiers, and is holding 203 people hostage, according to official figures, while the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas, said more than 3,785 people had been killed in the enclave since the outbreak of the conflict.

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