Nearly 200 Gaza evacuees to arrive in Türkiye

Fahrettin Koca, Health Minister of Türkiye

© APA | Fahrettin Koca, Health Minister of Türkiye

# 20 November 2023 18:32 (UTC +04:00)

Nearly 200 evacuees from Gaza are set to arrive in Türkiye on Monday, including dozens of patients who will receive medical treatment there, Türkiye's health minister and foreign ministry spokesman said, APA reports.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 61 patients, accompanied by 49 relatives, had arrived in Ankara on Monday afternoon after being brought out to Egypt on Sunday. Footage showed Koca at the Esenboga airport in Ankara greeting the people who were taken to hospital on ambulances.

"In terms of protecting human dignity, I think the steps we have taken provide a contribution, though very small," Koca told reporters at the airport. The priority for evacuations was now Gazan children, babies, and wounded civilians, he added.

Koca said last week that Ankara wanted to bring back as many as possible of nearly 1,000 cancer patients from Gaza - most of whom are former patients of a Turkish-Palestinian hospital that shut down due to Israeli attacks. The first 27 patients arrived in Ankara last Thursday.

He said on Monday that 150 Gazans had been brought to Türkiye in total. Most of the patients are cancer sufferers, and eight of the 61 patients who arrived on Monday were in "slightly more serious condition".

Separately, a group of 87 Turks, Turkish Cypriots, and their relatives arrived in Egypt from Gaza on Sunday and were set to fly to Istanbul late on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oncu Keceli said.

Forty-four Turks who travelled from Gaza to Egypt at the weekend arrived in Istanbul on Sunday, footage shared by the foreign ministry showed.

Keceli also said that if conditions on the ground permit, Türkiye aimed to get around 100 more people out of Gaza on Monday.

Speaking in parliament, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Türkiye was working with Egyptian and Israeli authorities to get another 983 Turkish nationals and their relatives out of Gaza.

"Until today, we have secured the exit from Gaza of 170 of our citizens and their relatives," he said, adding there would be further evacuations on Monday and Tuesday.

Ankara has sent some 700 tonnes of humanitarian aid, medical supplies, medicine, and medical personnel to Egypt for Gazans. It has said that it wants to set up a field hospital on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing.

On Monday, Koca said he had spoken by phone to his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts to discuss conducting field work inside a "safe zone" in Gaza to find an appropriate location for the field hospital to be set up, adding his counterparts had voiced an openness to coordinating on it and on evacuating children and babies.

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