Gaza convoy leaves Istanbul among prayers
The Gaza convoy set off from Istanbul on 16 December night following a mass press conference that drew around a thousand attendants. Turkish citizens gathered at Taksim square with Palestinian flags a
Europe, Middle East, Turkey 17.12.2009

Viva Palestina convoy, which departed from London to support the Palestinian people and break Gaza embargo, reached Turkey after a 10-day journey through Europe. The 80 vehicles brought with the convoy from Europe and 70 vehicles that joined it in Istanbul met at Feshane. The vehicles in the convoy were painted in Palestinian flags and its colors. Local people marched to Feshane to show support to the convoy participants with Palestinian flags in their hands.  

The vehicles began touring Istanbul following a press conference at Feshane. Local people lined along convoy’s route to show support by waving hands. The participants later visited Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. 

Citizens showed support to the convoy

Participating groups came together at Feshane after city tour. The 150-vehicle convoy headed for Taksim square, where a mass press conference was to be held, among honks and sirens. Crowds gathered at roadsides to cheer for the convoy. It was welcomed at the square by a large crowd waving Palestinian flags. British MP George Galloway, organizer of the British leg of the convoy, and Bülent Yıldırım, president of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, organizer of the Turkish leg, delivered short speeches here.  

Yıldırım said they were going to Gaza to break the month-long embargo and added “This convoy is a humanitarian action. We can no longer watch imprisonment of 1.5 million people in Gaza.”

Speaking after Yıldırm Galloway said “The people of Gaza are being punished for the preference they made three years ago. Gazan people are facing a mindset that makes children pay the price of their preferences. We hit roads to stop this mindset and will continue fighting until Palestine is liberated.”   

After the press conference the convoy was bidden farewell among prayers to leave for Gaza. It will spend a night in the city of Adapazarı and visit Ankara, Konya, Gaziantep and Kilis en route before crossing into Syria.  

Detailed information can be reached at filistinkonvoyu.org, ihh.org.tr, and vivapalestina.org. 

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