Gaza aid ship ready to depart
Turkey's humanitarian aid ship carrying 11,000 tons of relief supplies to the Gaza Strip is ready to sail from the country’s southern port of Mersin on Friday.

The move by the Panama-flagged ship named "Lady Leyla," which has been loaded with relief supplies including rice, flour, and toys since Wednesday, comes in the wake of a reconciliation deal reached between Turkey and Israel after a six-year hiatus.

Lady Leyla will also carry 10,000 toys and 10,000 packages of food and aid to children in Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod, which it is expected to reach within 30 hours.

Five tons of flour and 2,000 tons of rice aid from the Turkish Grain Board, as well as sugar aid from the Turkish Red Crescent, will be delivered.

A farewell ceremony will be held at 15:30 p.m. local time on Friday with the participation of Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, Development Minister Lutfi Elvan and Palestinian Ambassador to Ankara, Faed Mustafa, before the ship departs for the port of Ashdod.

Turkey and Israel reached an initial reconciliation agreement late Sunday. Diplomatic ties between the two countries were suspended after Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid ship called Mavi Marmara in international waters in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists.

The Mavi Marmara aid ship was among six civilian vessels trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza when Israeli commandos boarded it.

In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded a formal apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.

In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret for the attack.

On Monday, months of talks between the two countries finally bore fruit, with Turkey announcing that a deal would be signed, normalizing relations with Israel.

Under the deal, in addition to agreeing to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in Gaza, Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.
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Last Modified: 2016-07-01 14:36:46
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