Hamas Thanks Erdogan for Efforts to Ease Gaza Blockade

Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) late Monday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his efforts to ease the Gaza blockade.

“We appreciate and thank President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s and Turkish people’s support to our people in Gaza and their efforts to ease the blockade,” said Hamas.

Erdogan said Tuesday more than 10,000 tons of supplies will be sailed to Gaza from Turkey before the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday early July.

The accord between Turkey and Israel, which will be formally signed Tuesday, will pave the way for the restoration of bilateral relations more than six years after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla in international waters, killing nine Turkish activists and injuring another 30, one of whom succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.

The announcement came after a planned agreement between Turkey and Israel to normalize ties after a six-year hiatus, expected to lead to an improvement in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

According to a Turkish official, the agreement between Israel and Turkey includes the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza by Turkey in addition to investment in the infrastructure and housing in Gaza, according to Anadolu agency.

The Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital will be inaugurated as soon as possible, he further said. The agreement also stipulates for the construction of new power and water desalination plants in the Gaza Strip in addition to the increase of Gaza’s portions of water and electricity. The Turkish official also said that Turkey will continue its strong support of Palestine and the Palestinian people.

In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded a formal apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.

In 2013, Netanyahu voiced his regret for the attack.

On Monday, months of talks between the two countries finally bore fruit, with Turkey announcing that a deal would be signed the following day to normalize relations with Israel.

According to the deal, Israel will pay a total of $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.

Hebrew newspapers had previously reported that the reconciliation agreement stated that Turkey will not allow Hamas Movement to practice any military actions against Israel from Turkish lands while it can still retain its offices in Turkey for diplomatic activities.

The Hebrew reports also alleged that for that reason, Israel waived its condition to expel leaders of Hamas out of Turkey including Hamas’s leader Saleh al-Arouri. All of the alleged claims were denied by Turkey.