| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Turkey urges WHO to do more for Gazans hit by war

Turkey’s health minister said on Thursday that he had encouraged the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the supply of medical services to Gazans affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict, and that the WHO’s efforts had been insufficient thus far.

NATO member Turkey has already dispatched nine cargo planes carrying aid to Egypt for the Gaza Strip, and has volunteered to set up a field hospital in Egypt to help treat the wounded and transfer some to Turkey if necessary. It has criticized Israel’s attacks on the Palestinian enclave and demanded an immediate truce to allow additional humanitarian aid into the region.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said he had reminded WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a letter sent on Wednesday of the WHO’s professional responsibility to help civilians in need and told him that its efforts should be “much greater than what you have done so far”.

“WHO, with its responsibility of leadership and by taking necessary initiatives urgently, must ensure the safety of healthcare provisions in Gaza,” Koca wrote in the letter, which he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The WHO did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Turkey has toughened its criticism of Israel as the fighting and humanitarian crisis in Gaza have intensified.

Many of its NATO allies and the European Union consider the Hamas militants who run the Gaza Strip a terrorist organisation.

But on Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Hamas was a liberation group fighting to protect Palestinian lands and people, while slamming Western countries for their support of Israel.

  • Reuters