Ankara hosts event in support of Gaza border rallies

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Dozens of people gathered Friday at Ankara's Haci Bayram Mosque to show solidarity with Palestinians taking part in ongoing rallies along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border.

The event, which was organized by the Ankara Freedom of Belief Platform, was attended by numerous Turkish and foreign students.

“We are calling for an end to Israel’s violence,” the Platform’s Soner Kartal said in a statement.

“We also call on Muslim and Arab countries to act together to alleviate the suffering of our brothers who are blockaded and living under horrendous conditions in the Gaza Strip,” Kartal said.

“Those who remain silent are complicit in these acts of ongoing murder,” he added.

Since the border rallies began on March 30, at least 41 Palestinians demonstrators — including five children — have been killed by cross-border Israeli gunfire, according to Health Ministry figures.

Saeb al-Zard, a Palestinian student who took part in the event, told Anadolu Agency: “I came here to show solidarity with my Palestinian brethren currently demonstrating in Gaza.”

“We can only raise our voices against Israeli atrocities as Israeli snipers kill peaceful Palestinian protesters; as students, we can’t do anything else,” he added.

Shihab al-Ubab, a Yemeni student studying in Ankara, told Anadolu Agency: “It’s not a matter of being Turkish, Yemeni or Palestinian; it’s about being human. The Palestinian cause concerns everyone.”

“I came here because I feel I have to do something,” he said, adding: “We as humans are a single body; if one part is sick the whole body becomes so — if Palestine is in pain, Yemen feels the pain too.”

For the last four weeks, Gazans have been staging mass rallies along the border to demand the "right of return" to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

The rallies are part of a six-week protest that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".

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