Turkish Hospital in Gaza to Open in 2017

Gaza, 10 Dzulqa’dah 1437/13 August 2016  (MINA) – A Turkish hospital currently under construction in Palestine will open its doors in 2017, an official working on the project said Friday.

Funded by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), the Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital will be Gaza’s largest when it becomes operational, according to TIKA’s Palestine Coordinator Bulent Korkmaz.

Korkmaz told Anadolu Agency that the cost has so far reached $40 million. “The hospital will include cancer and heart research and treatment departments as well as a prayer room and library,” he added.

The facility is just one of hundreds of TIKA-funded projects in Palestine, ranging from vocational training for the disabled to water wells in the Gaza Strip.

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The latest influx of Turkish aid to Gaza was made possible by way of a deal signed last month between Turkey and Israel in which the two nations agreed to restore diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Tel Aviv had met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel.

The attack resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists and left 30 others injured, including one victim who succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.

At the time, Turkey demanded Israel officially apologized for the attack, compensate the families of the victims and lift its longstanding blockade against the Gaza Strip.

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In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his regret to Turkey’s then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the deadly ordeal.

Under the terms of last week’s agreement to normalize relations, the two countries will exchange ambassadors and Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the flotilla attack victims.

Israel has also agreed to Turkey’s request to maintain a “humanitarian presence” in the blockaded Gaza Strip. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)