Turkish citizens from Istanbul and neighboring cities rushed to İpsala border gate with Palestinians flags. The event drew a huge turnout despite rain and freezing temperatures. People shouted slogans calling for freedom to Palestine and condemning Israel as the convoy entered Turkey.
Following clearance of border formalities the convoy entered Turkey and held a press conference. Bülent Yıldırım, president of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation addressed the crowd saying: “We cannot watch the humanitarian tragedy silently. This befits neither our human nor Muslim character.”
The participants from the United Kingdom and other European countries said they were impressed by the welcoming ceremony and added it was the warmest welcome they received. Some people in the convoy could not hold back tears.
We are going to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, Yıldırım said, and added “We are going to ease the suffering of the Gazan people, who were not given a chance to recover after the war and had been kept under embargo for months. We will bring to them greetings of their brothers and sisters around the world.”
Seventy vehicles will join the London-originated 80-vehicle convoy, while another 47 vehicles from the United States will come to Turkey by sea to join it. After touring certain parts of Istanbul the convoy will gather at Taksim square at 7:00 p.m. on 16 December. A large crowd of concerned people are expected to attend the gathering.