Jerusalem, Oct. 23 – Within moments of the devastating earthquake that rocked Eastern Turkey on Sunday, the Israeli government offered aid to Ankara.
“At the instruction of Israel’s foreign minister, the Foreign Ministry sent a message to the Turkish authorities offering humanitarian aid…Israel’s embassy in Ankara has already approached the Turkish authorities with the offer,” read a statement from the ministry.
The last time a major quake hit Turkey in 1999, Israel sent a rescue team to the affected area and set up a field hospital. The Israelis helped in search and rescue efforts. The Israeli team included Jewish and Arab experts in the field.
Israeli President Shimon Peres called his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to repeat the offer of aid and to send condolences on behalf of the Israeli people for the loss of life.
"The state of Israel joins in your sorrow...I am speaking as a human being, a Jew and an Israeli who remembers and is well aware of the depth of the historic ties between our two peoples," said Peres.
Gul told Peres that Ankara is in the process of estimating the damage and remains hopeful that the Turkish rescue services will be able to cope with the challenge alone.