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Turkish firms show willing to help rebuild Gaza

The group plans to hold international design contests to put in place vital infrasturcutre, including a port

Published: Updated:

A team of Turkish firms say they are planning a $5 billion project to help rebuild Gaza city, which has been heavily damaged by years of violence.

The firms, which are part of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, have met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials and are working with a plan prepared by a Turkish research center that would revamp the city, which is home to over half-a-million Palestinians.

According to a report, Gaza City - which was targeted by Israel in the 2014 which saw buildings reduced to rubble and over 2,000 killed - will be “unlivable” by 2020 unless large reconstruction projects take place, the Turkish Hurriyet daily reported.

The group plans to hold international design contests to put in place vital infrasturcutre, including a port.

Although around 50 countries had promised around $5.4 billion in aid for Gaza since the conflict subsided in 2014, only around 20 percent of that aid has been delivered.

Over 1.7 million people live in Gaza – a figure expected to rise by 2.1 million by 2020.

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war and pulled its troops and settlers out in 2005 but still exercises control over most of Gaza’s borders, waters and airspace.

However, the Turkish business group believes that their country’s apparent easing of ties with Israel have put them in a unique position to help.

“The Turkish private sector was in Afghanistan, in Libya, everywhere. Why shouldn’t we have confidence and do this work too?” said Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the union’s chairman.