Turks being evacuated from Gaza

( Cihan ) - The first group of 13 Turkish citizens was evacuated from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, after Israeli authorities granted entry to Israel from the Erez border gate to three Turkish citizens. The Turkish citizens will take a flight from Jordan to Turkey from Jordan today (Friday), a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said and added that the Turkish Consulate in Jerusalem was in touch with other Turks who want to leave Gaza and that there would be further evacuations when preparations are completed.

The Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kэzэlay) has sent 500 tents to Israel for those trying to escape from the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip to the West Bank, with thousands of Gaza residents waiting at the Erez border gate. Those waiting there complain about being refuges in their own country. Kamil Kurtul, field coordinator for Kэzэlay, said they will set up a tent city of 500 tents in the West Bank on June 24. Kurtul said that they have also applied to Israeli authorities to allow 100 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

A number of Turkish people living in Gaza are unsure about visiting Turkey since they haven't been assured of or guaranteed a return to their home. They are afraid to leave lest they should not be able to return. What really makes them apprehensive is widespread talk about Israel seizing Palestinian identity cards and passports from those going through the Erez border, preventing them from ever being able to return. The Turkish women living in Gaza say: "We've made a life for ourselves here. What we want is to go to Turkey until the situation in Gaza settles down and then return to our homes here. Our families don't understand us; they want us to go back home. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place. We don't know what to do and we're asking for the Turkish government to lend us a helping hand." They have passed on a written plea to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoрan through their friends and family.

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