Gaza cancer patients arrive in Turkey for treatment

AFP , Thursday 16 Nov 2023

More than two dozen Palestinian cancer patients, who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt, arrived in Turkey for treatment in the early hours of Thursday, Turkey's Anadolu agency reported.

A Palestinian cancer patient, who had crossed from Gaza into Egypt, is carried on a stretcher after arriving at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara on November 16, 2023.AFP


Two planes carrying the patients, many of them children, landed at Ankara airport shortly after 00:30 am local time (2130 GMT).

Turkey has sent a ship loaded with material for field hospitals, ambulances and generators to Egypt to treat civilians who have been able to flee Israel's aggression on Gaza.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 27 patients had been flown to Turkey from Egypt, along with 13 companions, without specifying whether these were doctors or family members.

He added that the cancer patients had been able to cross from Gaza into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.

Koca had been in Egypt for discussions on the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and said the patients were able to be transferred to Turkey thanks to "coordination between Turkey, Egypt and Israel".

He also said that Turkey was waiting for Egypt's permission to open its first field hospital at the Rafah crossing.

"I hope that in the near future -- our efforts are going in this direction -- we will be able to establish a field hospital in Gaza, in the area near the Rafah gate," he said.

Turkey has long championed the Palestinian cause and, more recently, has stepped up its verbal attacks against Israel for the soaring civilian toll of its military attacks.

Speaking before members of his Islamic-rooted ruling party, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called Israel "a terror state" that was committing "genocide".

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