Turkey to work for permanent truce in Gaza: Erdogan

A photo of destroyed buildings in Gaza City on Nov. 29, 2023. After weeks of Israeli strikes on Gaza in retaliation for an attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas against Israel, the two sides reached a four-day humanitarian truce. [Xinhua]

Turkey will step up its efforts for the release of the hostages and establishment of a lasting truce in the Gaza Strip, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

"We will accelerate our contacts to release the hostages and make the ceasefire permanent," Erdogan said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

"Hopefully, our initiatives will continue in a multi-dimensional manner in the future," he said.

The Turkish government continues to dispatch humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza and has so far sent 12 relief planes and one ship to Egypt, according to Erdogan.

A second ship carrying 1,500 tons of humanitarian aid set sail earlier on Wednesday, according to the Turkish president.

"We take care of the treatment of injured people, especially cancer patients and children, by transporting them to Türkiye. Examinations for locations of the field hospitals we will establish in Gaza are underway," Erdogan said.

Türkiye brought another 23 Gazan patients, along with their 21 companions, for treatment in the capital Ankara late Wednesday.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who welcomed them at Etimesgut Airport in Ankara, said Türkiye has so far received a total of 200 people from Gaza, including 114 patients and 86 companions.

After weeks of Israeli strikes on Gaza in retaliation for an attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas against Israel, the two sides reached a four-day humanitarian truce last week, which was extended for another two days starting on Tuesday.

The Palestinian death toll from the Israel-Hamas conflict has surpassed 15,000, according to Palestinian figures. Israel said that the Hamas attack killed about 1,200 people while more than 200 people were taken as hostages.

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