Ankara hails Palestine victory in ‘one minute’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM (3rd from L) and Palestinian President Abbas (3rd from R) celebrate the UN upgrading Palestine’s status to ‘non-member observer state’. AA photoThe dinner organized by the Palestinian embassy in honor of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned out to be a joyful fest in which both Turkish and Palestinian officials celebrated the historic vote at the United Nations to upgrade Palestine’s status to nonmember observer state.
That was yet another celebration of Palestine’s historic achievement, but it marked a first as it brought Erdoğan and Abbas together, the two main architects of the U.N. vote. Erdoğan received a great welcome from Palestinian Ambassador Nabil Maarouf, who called him to the stage with the prime minister’s own famous words: “One minute, one minute!” from the days when Erdoğan challenged Israeli President Shimon Peres over Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
Slams Israel, thanks Turkey
It was not only Erdoğan who flocked to the five-star hotel late Dec. 11 to applaud Maarouf’s introduction, but hundreds of guests, Cabinet ministers, ambassadors from Arab and European countries, lawmakers and journalists as well. The smile on Erdoğan’s face was well apparent.
Erdoğan’s speech was no different from his earlier statements. He harshly slammed Israel, he urged Palestinian groups to unite – as their division serves only Israel – and he vowed that Turkey would always be on the Palestinian side in their bid to become a part of the international community with its flag raised at the U.N.
When he saw Bashil al-Shawwa, a Palestinian whose daughter was killed and whose wife was wounded during Israel’s operation in Gaza, he went to greet him and inquired about the health of his spouse, who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ankara.
Abbas’ speech was full of Palestinian appreciation for Turkey’s great support for Palestine’s bid at the U.N. For Abbas, the moment he can never forget is Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s rush from one delegation to another at the U.N. with dossiers in hand to convince countries to vote “yes” for Palestine’s bid.
“I want to see Turkish and Palestinian flags being raised side by side in Jerusalem,” Abbas said, in his emotional but determined address to the audience.
The night was not only for official statements. A Palestinian folklore group took the stage to present local dances while a band performed Palestine’s heroic songs. At one moment, the music was so energetic and inspiring that Ambassador Maarouf found himself in the middle of the dance floor.
At the end of the night, it was perhaps every participant’s desire to repeat such events to celebrate the recognition of Palestine as a full-fledged state with its flag raised at the U.N.