Turkey deems aid drops, maritime plan for Gaza positive yet not a solution

The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed a positive view on the humanitarian aid airdrop to Gaza and the plan to deliver aid via a maritime route, yet he noted that these actions fall short of resolving the core problem.

People watch as U.S. military carries out its first aid drop over Gaza, March 2, 2024. REUTERS/Kosay Al Nemer


Turkey views the airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza and a plan to deliver aid via a maritime route as positive developments, but thinks they fall short of resolving the core problem, the foreign ministry spokesperson said on March 13.

NATO member Turkey has been very critical of Israel for its attacks on Gaza and backed steps to try its leadership at the World Court for genocide. It has repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire, sent thousands of tons of aid and urged the West to exert pressure on Israel for increased aid flows.

Earlier on March 13, Reuters reported that Washington may urge partners and allies to fund a privately run operation to send aid by sea to Gaza. Along with Jordan and others, it also began dropping aid into the enclave by air this month.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Öncü Keçeli told reporters at a briefing in Ankara that Turkey had sent 9,000 tons of medical equipment and aid for infants, as well as many parachutes to Jordan for the air drops, but added these were not enough to alleviate the struggle of Gazans.

"We view the United States searching for a solution to the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as the result of the pressure imposed on it by the global public. On the other hand, we say that the real source of the problem needs to be solved," he said.

"Attempting to send aid via air, sea is admirable in a way. But focusing on such palliative solutions rather than focusing on the real issue seems, to us, as seeking to escape from the root of the issue," he said, adding that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his delegation conveyed this to U.S. officials during talks in Washington last week.

Keçeli said sending in aid by ground was easier, cheaper and more effective.

The United Nations has warned that widespread famine in the Gaza Strip is "almost inevitable" without urgent action. A formal conclusion that famine has arrived in the coastal enclave of 2.3 million people could come this week.