Turkey's prime minister has confirmed that he plans to visit the besieged Gaza Strip next month. Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement during a video link with a joint ceremony organised by the Turkish Red Crescent Society and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture.
In response to an invitation from Minister of Agriculture Ali Al-Tarshawi, Mr Erdogan said, "I am visiting Gaza in May to shake hands with our families there." The visit will go ahead despite US pressure to postpone it. It will be entirely for humanitarian purposes, said the Turkish prime minister.
The Turkish Red Crescent was celebrating the success implementation of several agricultural projects it supports in the Gaza Strip. Mr Erdogan was the main guest in Ankara and Mr Al-Tarshawi was the main guest in Gaza.
In his speech, the prime minister thanked Turkish civil society for the support it has given to the Palestinians in Gaza. His thanks was echoed by Minister Al-Tarshawi.
One of the Turkish-sponsored projects is a strip of land adjacent to the border with Israel which has been rejuvenated. Palestinian farmers have been unable to use the land for more than a decade.