Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 07:49 PM MSD
| “Those who live under dire conditions will never forget the hand extended to them,” says Gaza Governor Mohammad al-Qudwa, and adds, “We want to strongly feel Turkey’s presence here.” |
There are a number of projects in Gaza that Turkey could be interested in, both in humanitarian terms and commercial for purposes. Some projects, such as the bridges destroyed by Israeli missiles, are vital to Palestinians.
Unless the bridges over the river separating Rafah from the remaining parts of Gaza are reconstructed, Gaza will be divided into two unique parts following the rise of water-levels within a few months. Noting that the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) is trying to assume the responsibility for the repair of the three bridges, Gaza Mayor Dr. Majid Abu Ramadan said they were pleased by this gesture.
It is a commonly held belief that Turkey has limited influence across the Middle East and Palestine. As such, Turkey’s probable involvement in the humanitarian projects to be implemented in Palestine through TIKA and the Turkish Red Crescent are even more noteworthy in Gaza.
TIKA, the Turkish Red Crescent, and a number of other Turkey-based humanitarian relief organizations have recently provided extensive humanitarian aid to Palestinians. However, the humanitarian aid notwithstanding, Turkey needs to engage in activities that will create permanent benefits.
While a number of countries volunteered the construction of houses, roads, bridges, schools etc., Turkey has not attempted to take on such projects so far. It is disheartening to note that while a Gaza street was named Charles De Gaulle following French President Jacques Chirac’s visit to the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, which ruled the Palestinian territory for more than four centuries, has left no imprints, other than some historic buildings, in the region.
Despite Palestine’s relative insignificance in the world’s economic, political, and cultural affairs, major powers pay enormous attention to the Palestinian territory. Those who have an influence in Palestine also have a word in the whole region. Palestinians stress Turkey should draw a lesson from the fact that it was not invited to the recently held London Conference on the Palestinian issue.
Gaza Municipality waits “sister city” response from Istanbul
Noting that they have good relations with E.U. municipalities, Mayor Abu Ramadan says that they have been waiting for a response from the Istanbul Municipality in relation to a cooperation between Gaza and Istanbul.
Asserting that the Turkish government, municipalities, and Turkey-based firms etc. are able to do business in Gaza, Abu Ramazan says: “Turkey is a leading country in the fields of construction and tourism. Gaza has ripe opportunities in those fields.”
Similarly, Governor al-Qudwa states Turkish firms and the government could work in cooperation with businesses relevant to infrastructure, agricultural land, and industrial facilities.
However, both Gaza’s governor and the mayor underline that because Palestine is currently experiencing difficult times, Turkey’s unconditional support and financial aid will win the hearts of all Palestinians. Both agree that Palestine’s top priorities at the present are food, health care, and education.