World Bulletin / News Desk
Viva Palestina Convoy has doubled in Turkey with new cars and called on Turkey to press Egypt to restore the access into Israeli besieged-Gaza land.
Starting its journey from London to support Palestanian people and break Israeli siege of Gaza Strip, Viva Palestina Convoy on Tuesday arrived in Istanbul after ten days.
Viva Palestina Convoy held a press meeting in Istanbul. The foreign teams met with Turkish teams at Feshane in Istanbul.
The vehicles, which are sprayed by the colors of the Palestine flag were welcomed by people who throw their support for the convoy. Some British families joined to the convoy with their babies. Some Jewish religious leaders also came to Feshane and stated their anger to Israel.
It has been one year since Israel's attacks over Gaza. Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing nearly 1500 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded more than 5000. 1.5 million Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time.
Viva Palestina, formed in January, sent convoys to Gaza earlier this year -- the UK convoy in February and the US convoy in July.
Living up to its motto, "A Lifeline From Britain to Gaza", the international convoy aims not only to break the illegal siege imposed by Israel and send necessities into Gaza, but also wants to highlight the causes and results of wars in view of peace.
Turkish convoy that consist of 80 cars, joined the British 80 vehicle-convoy and 47 vehicles from the United of States are expected to participate in the convoy.
The convoy is expected to be in Gaza on December 27. Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.
In the press meeting, British MP George Galloway, who organizes the convoy in Europe and IHH Chairman Bulent Yildirim, who organizes the event in Turkey talked in the meeting.
Yildirim said they go to Gaza in order to break the long siege in Gaza.
Yildirim called on Turkish President Abdullah Gul to press Egyptian counterpart Mubarak to allow Gaza convoy that wants to pass through the Rafah Crossing.
Yildirim said in a statement, "Egyptian President Hosni Mobarek is now in Turkey. We urge President Abdullah Gul to talk to Mubarak for the Gaza convoy. There are elderly, children, sick people in the convoy. This convoy only moves with humanitarian senses, it serves to humanitarian aims."
The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.
Egypt draws angers, insisting on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives since 2007.
"Wake up from coma"
British MP George Galloway also issues a call to Arab countries.
"I'm not a Hamas supporter. But I'm all for democracy, human rights. Just because of one choice, Palestanian people has been punished by Israel for three years. I condemned Israel and all the countries that support this in here."
Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2009, 16:50
"I call to Arab countries. Wake up from coma. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Hugo Chavez support the Palestanian people for three years. When will you, Arab regimes support them? Palestanian issue is yours, you are closer to them than Venezuela."
After the press meeting, the convoy toured the four different areas in the city.
The convoy also will make a press conference at the Taksim Square tonight at 19.00.
Civil society organizations from different countries, human rights organizations and activists, will meet in Gaza to support the Palestinian people who live under the siege and to draw attention to the humanitarian situation on the first anniversary of the attacks in Gaza.
A giant march will be held in December 27 in Gaza. After this march, all the vehicles that comes with the convoy will be donated to the Palestinian people.
Israel now faces UN war crimes report that particularly details Israel's alleged war crimes during the Gaza offensive.