DAYS 10-11: Alexandropolis to Istanbul
11 days – 9 Countries – 2,262 Miles
A Message to IHH & Turkey:
The reception we’ve had from ordinary Turkish people, from its government, and from the IHH has been absolutely phenomenal. Their support and enthusiasm has boosted the morale of the convoy immeasurably, and their obvious support and love for the people of Gaza has been an inspiration to us. WE CAN’T THANK TURKEY ENOUGH.” – Kevin Ovenden, Viva Palestina convoy leader.
Send a Message of Thanks to IHH here…
DAY 11 – Wednesday Dec 16 ’09
11pm: News from World Bulletin and a farewell to Istanbul for some…
Rally at Taksim Sq, wet but fun with many new friends… + hot chestnuts. Night drive now, road to Ankara. – @YorktoGaza
8pm: Another report from Turkish VP and massive support at Taksim Square…
NEWS! Lucky the Convoy isn’t going into Gaza via the Tunnels, here’s the first picture of the new ‘underground’ wall Egypt is constructing…
6pm: Lonely Planet? Not for our Convoy…
I am absolutely in love with old Istanople … – @juanajaafar
2pm: IHH is doing a wonderful job!
Being looked after by IHH very well in Istanbul. Fed, watered and office space to re-group. – @linsayc
Press conference in Feshane – went really well – all turkish media stations were there. Turkish solidarity is fab! – @Pal_S_Campaign
… a day’s break in istanbul, press conferences, rallies and food. Nice. – @PGPOrg
Turkish News Coverage
12pm: a the Golden Horn… Hurriyet Daily News…
Our reception in Turkey is truly an unforgettable one! 100′s of people arrive to greet us at the border!! Turkish National TV is reporting live coverage as the convoy moves through their towns… Our Turkish friends cheer us on with Filstine Yolacik !!! (which means, a lifeline from Turkey to Gaza). We are grateful for NGO IHH‘s continuous support! Viva Turkya!! – @georgegalloway
Big rallies in Istanbul. Galloway speeches n parades thru city. News is that Egypt is upping the ante by declaring that convoy will be s… – @Zhat [stopped???]
Press conf on European side of the city. Galloway here, + loads of TV crews. 2/3 more days of publicity arranged in Turkey. – @Joti2Gaza
Speeches and flags by the Golden Horn… IHH Turkish NGO, our hosts here, get their 60 vans ready. One is an artic fitted as giant steel kitchen. – @YorktoGaza
Press call back in Europe after escorted mass convoy across bridge. Galloway here, + Free Gaza folk for siege-busting sea convoy in March. – @YorktoGaza
Arrived in Beykoz for press conference. GG’s here surrounded be media, helicopters, cameras and people! – @linsayc
Heading over to a Press Conference now in Feshane – being filmed by helicopter as we get there. Cars beeping in support! – @Pal_S_Campaign
8am: A nice cuppa…
Whole convoy driving slowly through Istanbul to press conf in the centre. Horns beeping. Film crew in chopper above. – @Joti2Gaza
Reception in Turkey has been tremendous. Full support from authorities – treated like royalty! – @Pal_S_Campaign
Snaking whole convoy thru istanbul’s morning traffic is not fun even under police outrider direction. Its not fun! Over n out. – @Zhat
Loads of friendly faces and hot tea. Heading to central Istanbul for parades and rally’s, but not til we’ve had breakfast… Convoy leaving Beykoz as one. – @linsayc
George Galloway will be in Istanbul for a Press Conference too! – Read GG’s Daily Record column: Turk Delight
80 from Turkey, 70 from London, 47 by sea from America… vehicles will tour Istanbul city… meeting at 8am in Taksim Square…. large crowds of Turkish supporters. [translation]
DAY 10 – Tuesday Dec 15 ’09
UPDATE: Arrival in Turkey and drive to Istanbul
Crossed Bosphorous 2 Asian side of Istanbul 2find local mayor + banquet waiting! Great speeches/atmosphere. V proud 2 b here – @Joti2Gaza
“What’s happening in Gaza is not the voice of Judaism” – Rabbi at Mayor’s dinner.
Arrived in Istanbul, crazy traffic & crazy drivers! Great welcome from everyone here. Being well fed by the Mayor – @CorktoGaza
9pm: Driving like locals to the night stop in Beykoz… with ANOTHER Mayor!
Arrived Istanbul, Asia side of Bosphorus. Terrific welcome. Terrifying traffic. Dinner with Mayor of Baykoz. Many locals with us. Noisy! – @YorktoGaza
PHEW! We just got to the sports compex in Beykoz, just on the outskirts of Istanbul where we’re putting up. It was more than 250km from the border. Drove through city rush hour like samseng/local to keep in line with convoy. Some stretches on gear 2 all the way, so congested … public really supportive, friendly honks. We got extra waves cause we flying the Msian flag! Now lutut sakit and craving kebab. – @juanajaafar
Emotional greet 4 us Aunties from Turkish women. Clear that our coming from the belly of the beast has special significance. Another great reception @gateway 2 Istanbul. Apparently 120 orgs involved in filling trucks + arranging our stay here. – @Joti2Gaza
PICTURES! Don’t miss Perdana’s almost-live MMS picture stream…
5pm: Greece set the bar high for Welcomes, Turkey is giving the VIP treatment to the Convoy…
All 250km from border to istanbul, convoy has been greeted by public n escorted by police thru redlights. V genuine public solidarity. – @Zhat
Joti2Gaza has a great post on her blog including 14 essential tips for the Convoy’r:
All sorts of good things to report. On the media front, the mainstream in Britain may be ignoring us, but, one way and another, we are being heard all the same. – read more…
2pm: Turkey is the new WORD!
In Turkey, will b joined by Malaysian, Turkish, US + other contingents, 2 make total of 200 vehicles + 450ppl heading 2 gaza! … AMAZING reception at border. Big rally with solidarity orgs and TV crews right at crossing gate. Turkey is with us! – @Joti2Gaza
There’re hundres of cars and people lined at the border greeting us. Turk support amazing. Really feels like we’re out of the EU… We got bags of fruit, food as we drive along. Sirens, horns going crazy festive. Palestinians living here thanking us… after a massive reception of friendly turks at the border, we’re off to the historic city of istanbul (220km) – @juanajaafar
As the Convoy crosses into Turkey, let’s take a moment to thank the Greek people for their warmth and wonderful hospitality!
With the welcomes, media coverage and Police escorts, they have done so much to boost moral and raise awareness. Send an email to the Mayor of Thessaloniki* Polichni Konstantinos Theodoridis or even to the Pizza Hut(!) that gave our travellers a meal.
*Thanks to TK from Thessaloniki for clarifying that Mayor Konstantinos Theodoridis of the wider Polichni Municipality is the one that supported the Convoy.*
News from Greece (via TK)
1pm: αντίο Ελλάδα! Selam Türkiye!
Just gone through the customs into Turkey – have hundred or so people waiting greeting us with flags (and getting free fruit) Really wonderful – @Pal_S_Campaign
Huge emotional welcome once through Turkish border. Flags, crowds, shaking hands. Istanbul 230 km – @YorktoGaza
*we are switching timestamps from GMT to EET (Gaza/Turkey time)
12pm EET: Next stop Istanbul… @linsayc they’ll be there soon!
Just got our vehicle paperwork done at TUR border. They love thay we’re Msians! “Msia?! Waaah!” Viva! We can see beyon the checkpoint Turks are out with flags to greet us! – @PGPOrg
Just crossed t border into turkey… thousands of public waiting to greet the convoy! V emotional for all. On our way to istanbul now. – @Zhat
220,000 HAPPY THOUGHTS TO BOB & THE GLOUCESTER CREW!
still at the border, paperwork galore – @PGPOrg
Alive to waves of support which have taken us so far. Our spirits soar above all borders! Bodies & passports stand in line & get stamped – @YorktoGaza
We hear the Foreign Sec has written to Egypt to ask for ok passage for our humanitarian mission. Thanks all who wrote MPs etc. Keep it up. Now at Turk border waiting. Shape of things to come? – @YorktoGaza
got past the greek controls, now waving at smiling soldiers on the way to turkish gates – @PGPOrg
Just got a wave and a victory sign from Greek and Turkish border guards People of Gaza, the world is with you – @Joti2Gaza
Interviewed by Lebanese DailyStar. Offering story 2 UK press… New Internationalist have asked me 2 blog 4 them. Every little helps. Good luck with that! Keep spreading the word + help break media blackout! – @Joti2Gaza
Songs + camp fire by the sea last nite. Police escort out of town this am. Just 6km 2 Turkey border. Istanbul 2nite. – @Joti2Gaza
Spent our last night in Greece at a campsite. Greeks have been really hospitable – crossing the border into Turkey very soon! – @Pal_S_Campaign
we’re off to istanbul, driving up to turkish border now.rainy morning – @PGPOrg
GPO ambulance is now carrying wheelchairs, walkers, potties adopted from accident van. We just did the list cause have to declare in TUR… Just had prob the most important morn brief by lead org, Kevin. Some kids are not behaving, got warned. Stressed on fact that TUR borders controlled by military, so don’t try some juvenile macho attitude from now on. We’ll be ascorted by police from the beach to TUR – @juanajaafar
We’ve split the news onto a few pages, they should load faster: