Conditions to improve relations with Israel, Armenia remain the same: Erdoğan
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today reiterated Ankara’s conditions to improving relations with Israel and Armenia, while also vowing to support Palestinian’s cause.
“We will never reconsider restoring our relations with Israel,” until Israel lifts its Gaza blockade, apologizes to Turkey and pays compensation for the nine Turkish nationals killed on a Gaza-bound vessel by Israeli commandos in May 2010, Erdoğan said in his address to his ruling Justice and Democracy Party (AKP) congress in Ankara. The prime minister also said Turkey will continue to give support to the Palestinian cause in order to make them live in peace.
On Armenia, Erdoğan said Turkey’s stance will not change, until “they give our Azeri brothers’ their rights.”
“We will continue to stand by our principals on the issues of Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan has meanwhile called on Russia and China to reconsider their stance on Syria, while also vowing to provide logistical support to Syrians and welcome refugees from the country flowing into Turkey, during his speech.
“I call on China and Russia: Please, reconsider your stance. History will not forgive those who side with this cruel regime,” Erdoğan said during his party’s congress today in Ankara.
Turkey is currently hosting around 90,000 refugees, he said. “We will do what brotherhood necessitates. We will continue to give logistical support.”
Call for action against Islamophobia
Erdoğan called on France and Germany to take action against recent incidents against the Muslim identity in their countries during his address.
“I call on Germany. We do not accept the attitude against women who wear head coverings,” said Erdoğan. Recent posters publicized by the German Interior Ministry advertising a hotline for those worried that a friend or family member may be turning to radical Islam did not coincide with the freedom of religion, Erdoğan said.
He also called on France to take steps in “the cartoon crisis,” referring to cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad that were recently published by a French magazine.
Erdoğan also vowed to continue his efforts to make Islamophobia a recognized hate crime in Turkey and the international arena.
“Islamophobia is a hate crime. Insults to [Islam’s] Prophet Muhammad cannot be tolerated under the name of freedom of speech. This is not freedom of speech, this is a disrespect to freedoms,” said Erdoğan.
“We are now taking steps in domestic and international grounds. Our foreign minister is holding discussions [on the issue] with world leaders,” said Erdoğan, recalling his previous call for a ban on attacks on religious and sacred values. Erdoğan also said it is unacceptable that the West hasn’t recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity, although it has recognized anti-semitism as a crime against humanity.