19 December, 2009 — Viva Palestina
Freedom for Gaza convoy received a heartfelt welcome from the residents of Konya as it arrived in the city on Şeb-i Arus (the night of Rumi’s union with Allah, namely his death).
The Gaza aid convoy arrived in Konya on a cold December night. It was welcomed by local people with Palestinian flags. They waited for the convoy to arrive at town entrance for hours despite freezing temperatures.
Convoy participants spent the night at Selçuklu Cultural Center, sleeping in sleeping bags they had brought with themselves.
On 18 December at 10: a.m. a demonstration was held at Salı Pazarı with attendance of a large crowd. Huge Palestinian flags were carried and support to the Palestinian people was voiced.
Latif Selvi, president of Konya NGOs Platform, addressed the crowd saying “I greet the entire group that will go to Gaza. Let this case of sensitivity be an example to the world.”
“Gaza is people’s conscience. We call upon everyone to own the Gaza cause,” said Veli Tolu, Konya provincial head for Saadet Partisi (Felicity Party).
Kevin Ovenden, an organizer for the UK part of the convoy, said they were welcomed well in Turkey and found the people of Turkey really concerned about the Palestinian issue.
Bülent Yıldırım, president of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, organizer of the Turkish leg of the convoy, said: “If British citizens go to Gaza leaving behind their families and children, then we have to do much more. We as Muslims should help our brothers and sisters there. I am urging everyone to march to streets if this convoy is not let into Gaza from Egypt.”
“I am calling on Arab leaders in particular. If Gaza goes down, you will go down too. Gaza is the cause of all of us. I am urging everyone to support this convoy”, he added.
The convoy headed for the city of Adana after completing its program in Konya.