Ankara reiterates support for a free Palestinian state
AA PhotoA Palestinian state should be established as soon as possible within the borders established in 1967, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu has said, during a ceremony to decorate the outgoing Palestinian ambassador in Ankara with the outstanding service award.
Çavuşoğlu referred to the Israeli military operation against the Gaza Strip this summer and said physical traces of that “human tragedy” have still not been removed.
After giving the outgoing Palestinian ambassador in Ankara Nabil Maarouf his award, the Turkish foreign minister also claimed that Israel has brought the “region to the brink of chaos with its offensive and heinous attack” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem two months ago.
Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in October after an extremist rabbi was wounded in a drive-by shooting in West Jerusalem.
“There is no explanation for why the Palestinians were prevented from having the right to found their own state, while Israel got that right in 1948,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Tension has been running high in the West Bank and Jerusalem since July, when a total of 2,145 Palestinians - mostly civilians - were killed and thousands of residential homes and public facilities were totally or partially destroyed during Israel’s 51-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Maarouf, who is due to end his position in Turkey next week after serving nine years as ambassador, said his work had been “easy to do thanks to Turkey’s political and economic support.”
“The Turkish government and Turkish people strongly support the Palestinian issue,” he said, adding that Ankara had not ignored a single request from him during his time on duty.
The ambassador thanked Turkey for its support in “internationalizing” the Palestinian issue.
“Today Europe is closer to Palestine; we are gaining friends … We are sure that, sooner or later, with the support of Turkey and our Muslim brothers, the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital will be established,” Maarouf told reporters.
The European Parliament voted on Dec. 17 on a non-binding resolution calling for the recognition of Palestinian statehood to take place after peace talks with Israel.
The joint resolution backs “in principle” the recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution to the conflict.
Separately, the EU General Court ruled on Dec. 17 that the decision to list Hamas on a 2001 terrorist list was not based on “acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet.”
Despite the court’s decision, the “the EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization,” European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.