Turkey to support Middle East peace process: Turkey’s FM
ANKARA - Anadolu AgencyTurkey is eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and Middle East peace process, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Aug. 11. Çavuşoğlu spoke at a joint news conference after meeting Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara.
The Turkish minister said Ankara had always advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and was going to contribute to permanent peace in the region.
“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel. According to our latest agreement, the two countries will appoint ambassadors to each county. After this step, we will also support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process,” he said.
Last month, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.
Çavuşoğlu also thanked the Palestinian people and all their politicians for supporting Turkey after the July 15 failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“Our brotherhood … is a unique example. We always share our sorrows and happiness,” he said.
The minister also said Turkey would continue its efforts to help residents of the Gaza Strip. “We have promised to send 200 million dollars to Palestine by the end of 2017, and it appears that we will even surpass the amount.”
Al-Maliki also supported Turkey’s reconciliation agreement with Israel. Turkish officials have said the deal is likely to be signed before parliament goes on recess next week.
“Turkey’s good relations with Israel are a factor which actually makes things easier,” al-Maliki said.
The Palestinian minister also met Turkish Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman at Turkey’s legislature.
Kahraman said Turkey’s stability allowed it to play the role of a guarantor of peace in the Middle East.
“Palestine is our friend and our feelings are common,” Kahraman said.
Ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel in international waters.
The attack resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists and left another 30 injured, one of whom succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.
In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.
In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Under the terms of the agreement, Turkey and Israel will exchange ambassadors and Tel Aviv will pay 20 million dollars in compensation to the families of the 2010 flotilla attack victims.
Israel has also agreed to Turkey’s request to maintain a humanitarian presence in the blockaded Gaza Strip.