Turkey, which gives priority to the protection of civilians, the establishment of an immediate ceasefire and the unimpeded and effective conduct of humanitarian aid efforts within the context of recent developments in Libya, continues its humanitarian assistance activities at the national level with a view to alleviating the grievances of the Libyan people, while it also provides active contribution to the international efforts carried out to this end under the auspices of the UN and NATO.
Most recently, upon the instructions of our Prime Minister, we have sent to the region the M/F Ankara Ferry, which was transformed into a hospital ship, in order to transport to Turkey the wounded people in Misurata, a city exposed to intense clashes, for their medical treatment. This endeavor has been put into implementation through high-level close coordination and cooperation conducted by our Government among our related institutions, in particular the Turkish General Staff, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of the Prime Ministry, our Ministry and the Ministry of Health.
With a view to ensuring that the Ankara Ferry accomplishes its mission without any impediment, intense consultations and coordination efforts with the parties in Libya have been held by the Minister of Foreign Affairs himself and through our diplomatic representations in Libya.
Despite security and safety risk at the Misurata Port, the Ankara Ferry docked at the port yesterday (2 April) under the protection provided by the Turkish Armed Forces. 12 F-16 aircraft taking off from Bandırma and Dalaman, 4 tanker aircraft taking off from İncirlik and the frigate "TCG Yıldırım" already deployed in the region participated in this national operation for the protection of the Ankara Ferry.
230 wounded people and 60 attendants were taken on board the ferry and the ferry left Misurata for Benghazi late last night. The ferry which is expected to arrive in Benghazi at around 17.00 hours local time today will also take the wounded people in Benghazi who are in need of urgent medical care and will then leave for Turkey.
The 15-strong medical team on board the ferry, composed of 8 doctors, 4 nurses, 1 anesthetist and 2 medical personnel, are providing emergency medical services to the wounded on board.
The Ankara Ferry will dock at the Çeşme Port and all necessary measures for the rapid transport of the wounded people to the hospitals in the region have been taken in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Red Crescent.
Turkey will continue and increase its humanitarian assistance activities to heal the wounds and alleviate the sufferings of our Libyan brothers who are undergoing hard times.