ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan offers cake decorated with the Palestinian flag to officials. AA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
welcomed the United Nations vote granting Palestine non-member state observer status, calling the territory “a country under [Israel’s] occupation,” while speaking at a forum in Istanbul.
“We must see and admit that Palestine is also a country under occupation despite the fact that it won observer state status,” Erdoğan said, addressing the Turkish-Arab Forum on Dec. 1, according to Agence France-Presse. Erdoğan accused Israel
of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” in the Gaza Strip, which was battered by Israeli air strikes last month. He also called for intra-Palestinian unity to form a “state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” calling on Israel
not to prevent the formation of such a state, Doğan news agency reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, also speaking at the opening of the Forum, welcomed the upgrade as a “significant step.” “Now is the time to restore permanent peace in the region,” said Davutoğlu. He also criticized the Israeli aggression in Gaza, which he said dragged the Middle East into new chaos.