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Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey refuses Israeli quake aid - but accepts it from Iran

Yesterday I wondered whether Turkey would accept any offers by Israel to help after the devastating earthquake in Van.

Initial reports said that Turkey declined aid from all nations that offered, including Israel.

From Reuters yesterday:
Turkey declined an offer of aid from its former strategic ally Israel Sunday after a powerful earthquake struck southeast Turkey, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

"I am under the impression the Turks do not want our help," Barak told Channel 2 News. "Right now (their answer) is negative but if they see they need more aid and don't have it, or if they rethink it, we have made the offer and remain prepared (to help)," he said.

A Turkish foreign ministry official said later that Turkey had received offers of help from dozens of countries after the magnitude 7.2 quake, and had so far declined assistance from all of them.
This is stupid, of course. When lives are in the balance it is ridiculous to act macho at the expense of human lives. But if Turkey decided that it can do it alone, that is their right.

Unless...they say they declined all help in order to avoid being indebted to Israel as well as Armenia.

Because here is what Al Arabiya is reporting:

Iran’s Red Crescent has sent rescue teams, ambulances and a field hospital to Turkey to help out in the wake of a devastating quake there, the state news agency IRNA reported Monday.

Mahmoud Mozafar, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, was quoted as saying that “Turkish officials have defined an area in the Van region for Iranian rescuers to bring medical assistance to the injured.”

Iran has sent 20 rescuers, 20 ambulances, a field hospital, food supplies and 50 tents for emergency shelter to the quake-hit region in Turkey, which lies just over the border with Iran, Mozafar said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi telephoned his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, to express his condolences over the loss of life suffered in the disaster.

After visiting the quake zone, Erdogan returned to Ankara, where he is expected to chair a cabinet meeting to discuss the response to the disaster.

He said Turkey was able to meet the challenge itself, but thanked countries that had offered help, including Armenia and Israel, two governments that have strained relations with Ankara, Reuters reported.

CNN adds:

Tents and rescue teams have come from as far away as Iran and Azerbaijan.

So Turkey is accepting aid.

Just not from countries it doesn't want to be associated with.