Davutoğlu pays hospital visit to Gazans injured in Israeli offensive

December 07, 2012, Friday/ 16:43:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Thursday evening visited gazans brought to Turkey to receive treatment for injuries sustained in Israel's recent air strikes

Davutoğlu visited the Gazans receiving treatment in Ankara at Yıldırım Beyazıt University's Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital, accompanied by his wife, Sare Davutoğlu. The visit saw emotional moments exchanged between the Turkish foreign minister and victims of the Israeli attack.

One of the injured was Mona el-Shawwa, the wife of Basel al-Shawwa, who was photographed shedding tears alongside Davutoğlu after losing his 15-year-old daughter in Israeli attacks around two weeks ago.

Davutoğlu presented a book of Ottoman-era photographs of Jerusalem and a Turkish flag to the Shawwa family. Basel al-Shawwa accepted the Turkish flag after kissing it three times in as a sign of respect.

The Turkish foreign minister's emotional visit to Gaza in late November made the front pages of Turkish newspapers with a photo of Davutoğlu weeping over the body of Shawwa's daughter, killed in an Israeli offensive.

Israel launched the Gaza offensive on Nov. 14, unleashing 1,500 air strikes on Hamas-linked targets. Israel also destroyed key symbols of Hamas' power, such as the prime minister's office, rocket launching sites and Gaza police stations. The eight days of Israeli shelling in the Gaza strip killed 161 Palestinians.

Davutoğlu also visited two other injured Gazans, Nima Musleh and Abdulselam al-Basyuni, transported on the same plane as the Shawwa family to receive treatment following days of Israeli airstrikes.

The injured Gazans were brought to Turkey in late November on a Turkish ambulance plane dispatched to Egypt. After landing in Ankara, Shawwa thanked Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and said he had brought a copy of the Quran to express his gratitude.

‘Your daughter has become Turkey's daughter'

Davutoğlu, stating that he feels the pain of Palestinian families who have lost their children, said that Yusra, Shawwa's daughter, has gone down in history as a martyr.

“You had one daughter; now she has become the daughter of the whole Turkish nation and all of humanity. And all the daughters of Palestinian have become your daughter,” said Davutoğlu, describing the nobility of being called a martyr.

Shawwa, expressing his gratitude to Davutoğlu, said: “We are a small family, but you are a great man. The entire world has witnessed the events [in Gaza] thanks to you. We feel the Turkish people are standing by us.”

Davutoğlu answered: “A family whose members include a martyr is the biggest family in the world. I was not [in Gaza] as a minister, I was there as a father and your brother. No mother or father could be more precious than the mother or father of a martyr.”

Davutoğlu, adding that the costs of treatment for the Palestinians would be covered by the Turkish government, delivered the greetings of President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the injured and their families.

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