DAYS 12-13: Istanbul to Konya to Adana
13 days – 9 Countries – 2,836 Miles
Map stats, in 13 days: 502,251 views & 70,236 viewers
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 13 – Friday Dec 18 ’09
UPDATE: Arrival in Konya and Adana
arrived in adana, after 7 hour drive. dinner and reception. great turkish food. – @PGPOrg
What a day yesterday… back to convoy, driving through mental rain in the dark… 3 and a half hours sleep last night! How refreshing! … No way… a proper quake and I miss it! Drove through Izmit last night, too dark to see, now in Adana on our way to Syria. – @linsayc
We’ve just arrived in Adana. Been a long day driving. @RamGK drove up the mounts, I drove down. Been raining the whole time. We’re all cold wet and hungry. This hall in Adana is nice and comfy. Huge. Again, we’re being pampered by locals with food and reception Our host org in TUR is the IHH. They’ve been helping out with directions, traffic and local accommodation. They’ve been really generous. So turns out we’re not crossing into SYR tomorrow. Instead we’re driving to another southern town: Gazi antep. Not sleeping in ambulance tonight. Cold getting to the bones – @juanajaafar
At Last! BBC NEWS coverage of the Convoy:
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!
UK‘s Bristol247.com: “Bristol to Gaza aid convoy given rapturous reception” & ThisisBristol: “Gaza convoy has been an international reward”
USA‘s Huffington Post & Lebanon‘s Daily Star: Viva Palestina campaign sees 86 aid vehicles destined for Gaza – from @RHallDailyStar GREAT WORK RICHARD!
Venezuela‘s AlbaTV: “Caravana solidaria hacia Palestina”
UK‘s Socialist Worker: “British student solidarity with Gaza” – .. goods won by the student occupations for Gaza – which swept Britain’s universities at the start of this year – are on their way to Palestine.
Turkey‘s Birgun: “HANGİ İNSAN HAKLARI” report on Documentarist‘s ‘Which Human Rights?‘ film festival which showed Hassan Ghani‘s ‘Three Uncles go to Gaza‘ while the convoy was in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Turkey‘s IHH & Filistin Konvoyu: “Gaza Convoy Reaches Konya“ – “Gaza convoy mission in Parliament” – “Viva Palestina conquers hearts of Istanbulites” – “Gaza convoy leaves Istanbul among prayers” (w/pics from Taksim Square)
7pm: Leaving Konya…
Plain SE fr Konya narrows 2 a pass thru blue saw-tooth mtns as dusk falls. Scene bleak but majestic as rain clouds thicken. N Yorkshire coming! Driving for Farrah fr Huddersfield with Julie fr Sheffield focused on YorktoGaza in front. Bradford van behind. To change drivers we pull in at a garage but don’t need fuel. wc & tea. Owner Shaymus says No Charge. It’s enough that we’re helping Gaza! – @YorktoGaza
5pm: Thank YOU!
All our friends + followers: thx so much 4 RTs, links, pushes + msgs of support. Great 2 kno u r with us + spreading t word!
V glad we got bus fixed up in Istanbul. Lovely mechanics hardly charged. As roads get worse + journeys longer, we doing fine. More warmth, shelter, press + food in Konya last nite/this am. So much love frm so many pple. On long, rainy road 2Adana now – @Joti2Gaza
NEWS! Teacher & artist (YouTube) from the NORCAL is joining CODEPINK for the Gaza Freedom March with art for Gaza. The mosaic is based on this poster created by PCHR Gaza for International Women‘s Day:
3pm: Spreading the good will
Left konya. Were given loads food. I gave a biscuit 2 a kid only 2 turn round 2 face 2doz outstretched hands. Gave food away to gypsy kids and kept water and ayran (yogurt drink) – @YorktoGaza
12pm: Support in Tweet…
You, “the people of #VP convoy”, are the live conscience of this world, May god bless you. – @abuyazan
11am: Comfort in Konya, a Press conference and some maintenance…
Turkish welcome has been so warm! New fan and manifold welded on ambulance at cost price. Egypt’s Mubarak is also visiting and we’re getting more media, we’ve been joined by 60 Turkish vehicles from IHH bring us up to 140 in total. Drive to Adana now and Syrian border tomorrow. – @CorktoGaza
We’re in konya this morning, ready to continue our journey having spent the night sleeping on soft judo mats in a sports hall – our most comfortable night so far! Kevin and some of the others have gone to do a press conference – turkish tv loves us! Then it’s time to hit the road again for more all day driving. – @Pal_S_Campaign [Streaming Turkish TV]
NEWS! TROPICAL UK HIT BY WHITE MATERIAL FALLING FROM SKY! CONVOY? WHAT CONVOY?
Phone the BBC 03700 100 222 & other Media… – DEMAND COVERAGE!
Convoy publicity is HUGE in Turkey, wall to wall, more publicity than Mubarak The crescendo MUST reach the UK. Did Channel 4 has mentioned it? COME ON BBC!! For the Brits! Weather York snow! Weather Konya damp, foggy (= York winter norm!) – WARMTH OF WELCOME EVERYWHERE reported as TREMENDOUS! – @YorktoGaza
10am: Super Tweet from Konya…
good morning from Konya! just had morning briefing. the Viva Palestina convoy has been getting good press in TUR. we’re in almost every local paper today!
bad news is, vehicles purchased by the US delegation are stuck in Egypt and will not be able to leave with us from Konya to Damascus. we’re hoping that when the vehicles do arrive in TUR, the US delegates will be able to catch up with us in SYR or JOR. long drive! also we were reminded that those of us whose passports have Israeli stamps on ’em should seek advise from the orgs. needless to say SYR not gonna be happy to see Israeli stamps at the border. we’ve also been asked to sort out our vehicle paperwork again, make copies of aid items we’re carrying, to ease border check.
some members of the convoy have gone for a Konya press conference. PGPO crew staying back to check on the 4 new PGPO-bought vehicles that joined the convoy in Istanbul. we still haven’t seen them yet news is a few vehicles broke down in the Istanbul-Konya journey yesterday. everyone’s okay but vehicles are now being fixed. guess after more than 2,000 miles of driving, something’s bound to give way.
but Alhamdullillah, the PGPO ambulance we’ve been driving which is a second hand Mercedes ambulance bought over from the NHS, is going strong. the alternator is f-ed, i think. but after some ketuk-tendang, it comes back to life i’m growing very fond of the ambulance. but it belongs to the people of Gaza. so we have to deliver! – @juanajaafar
9am: Heading out of Konya to Adana…
Good sleep.Good breakfast. Konya press conference to keep up momentum. Later 450 k to Adana. Gardeners planting tulips! – @YorktoGaza
long day of events in konya, pc, lunch and then to adana – @PGPOrg
DAY 12 – Thursday Dec 17 ’09
11pm: The perfect summary of the day from @juanajaafar…
Just arrived Konya, bout 200km from Ankara. PGPO + 1 got here first cause didn’t drive with convoy…. Lots of Kazakh uni students here. One really cute small mousey one who speaks English. Wanna adopt him. 3 of us bout to get fed! Mmm! People have been so generous to us. Hosts all men here. Were shocked I was driving. Told my friend “That lady can drive manual?!” Ha!
there are so many people here. the group has grown so much since we got into TUR. still, good vibes all round. and the locals have been amazing. we were told there’s gonna be a few more vehicles joining us from Konya, including 1 mobile KITCHEN! yaaay!!!
just got word Egypt under pressure now to allow convoy + aid into Gaza via Egypt. people from all over the world have sent their letters and letters to their own leaders expressing concern re Egypt’s position on this issue.
tomorrow we head out to Adana, south of TUR. our last stop in TUR before we enter SYR. TUR has been a very, very, very long drive… hope neighboring friendly govs will continue to put pressure on Egypt to let us in, and with the aid.
before i go, here’s a shoutout for our TUR hosts who have setup wifi at the sports hall and have generously fed us with nice warm food.
10pm: Looking ahead to Rafa, our Turkish MPs will be there too…
Sounds like we’ll have huge numbers @ Rafa. Turkish gov. officials from today hope 2 fly 2 Cairo 2 meet up, & today’s front page news here. In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians. – @linsayc
ALERT THE CARTOGRAPHER! via Lebanon’s @RHallDailyStar:
George Galloway says he will try and bring the “Viva Palestina” convoy into Lebanon for a day if they can save time in Turkey or Syria.
PICTURES! Smile inducing new pictures from your 4 Swansea ladies…
8pm: Enroute to Konya, memories of Ankara…
Solidarity! All thru #Turkey, groups of people have been waiting in the cold at major road junctions with flags 2cheer us on. Touched down briefly in Ankara, + now on long drive east to Adana. Guest members of the support team convoy. Crazy drivers! – @Joti2Gaza
Coverage of convoy here is incredible. Support – political & practical – from local, civil, national orgs has made Turkey unforgettable. – @Pal_S_Campaign
Turkish escort. Lots of people out in fog and rain on motorway to wave. 230k Konya tonight’s stop… We received a wonderful reception in Ankara – Turkish dancers, balloons, flags, media and food in stadium. – @YorktoGaza
6pm: More arriving in Ankara… others leaving for Konya
pgpo and viva pal just had meeting with turkish parliament speaker, justice party vice chair and h.r caucus… now on the way to konya from ankara – @PGPOrg
Now at the ruling party’s HQ in Ankara, hot tea and more warm words to take on our journey… Palestinian embassy was full of historical pictures & maps. Great place! – @linsayc
Ankara. Another warm welcome on a gold grey pm. Promised to take the love & prayers of 4 women we met to the people of Gaza. – @YorktoGaza
5pm: They’re off to the Palestinian Embassy…
In Palestinian Embassy. Very emotional…
Speaker says the convoy proves people can affect change… speaker gives an animated story about sheep and gaza… turkey is secular says speaker and the issue of palestine is not religious… speaker happy to know i’m from malaysia… turkey is a bridge that connects east and west… some mps have pledged to be in rafah on the 27th… secret service guys have taken note of my twitter password i reckon… speaker says he’s happy to see all nationalities on the convoy… – read live Twupdates @RamGK
3pm: Contrasts along the road to Ankara…
More beautiful mountains. Thick fog not ideal after 3hr sleep! 90km to Ankara. Some vehicles already @ Turkish parliament. Amazing views. From Scandinavian-style wooded mountain slopes to moon-like scrubby craters. Volcanic? Glacial? Eerie, anyway! – @Joti2Gaza
BLOG! @Joti2Gaza‘s first blog post for New Internationalist:
Viva Palestina: a lifeline from Britain to Gaza
“.. a small girl knocked on the window of our van. When I put the window down, she handed me a beautiful picture she had drawn depicting the friendship between the Turkish and Palestinian people, and asked me to deliver it to the children of Gaza.“
2pm: News from PalTelegraph and some vehicles still leaving Istanbul…
We’ve left Istanbul and are on the way to Ankara, then Adana. Pace fast. – @YorktoGaza
12pm: Lead group reaches Parliamentary reception in Ankara…
On a speedy transfer to meet parliamentary reps in Ankara. Convoy 125km behind. All making good progress despite the weather. – @linsayc
Stopped for breakfast now on the road closer to Ankara. Still foggy and there’s now snow on the side of road. Visibility bout 70m max. The landscape has dramatically channged. Now no snow, fog and hills are camel brown, rocky and little vegetation unlike 5 mins ago with pines all over the place. – @juanajaafar
Extremely arduous pace of travel on the turkish leg plus official receptions etc has somewhat caused fractures. Human dynamics, i guess. – @Zhat
10am: Incredible support…
Today Ankara & Konya… We hear that the demo was 1st in Taksim sq for 30 yrs & we got more coveragethan Mubarak’s visit yesterday. Home to Istanbul 2000 miles! 5 or 6 times on road east we had handfuls of fans come down to hard shoulder to wave hands & flags in pouring rain at midnight, 1am, 2am… Adapazari night stop. Our hosts not fazed by our 4 am arrival – soup, sarnie & sports hall floor, b’fast too. Indoor night. Breakfast too. – @YorktoGaza
6am: Midnight runs and more Welcomes…
Leaving sport stadium-with brekkie in bag – to press conference. Convoy bigger as more british, americans and turks join us. Spoke at a demonstration in Takhsin Square for PSC yesterday– hundreds of people there, despite rain. Support here fab! Left Istanbul at midnight – drove to Adapazari – ppl were waiting there at 3.30 in the morning for us – with food. Support v overwhelming. – @Pal_S_Campaign
IHH have us fed and watered and ready for a press conference before we head to Ankara. We are speeding towards our goal. – @linsayc
An American delegation joined us in Istanbul.. Some members of the convoy will be representing us at Parliament visit today – @juanajaafar
NEWS! Today’s Zaman: “Viva Palestina Gaza aid convoy reaches Turkey” 4am: Night Nap stop…
4.15am arrived at Adaparazi. 2 hrs kip then off to Ankara to get documents from the embassy. – @linsayc
Just passing Izmit… Too dark to see. It’s late and we’re all getting tired, but that does not stop our progress towards Gaza – @linsayc
12am: Early breakfast feast in Ankara awaits…
It’s 12.10am, and we’re waiting 4 police escort to take us 2 the mway, where we will drive 200km before dinner! Bodyclock totally confused. – @Joti2Gaza
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