Palestinian cause, ties with Israel different cases: Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 20 vowed to defend Palestinians, stressing that Ankara considers the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel as a different case.
“The steps we take for our political-economic relations with Israel as a requirement of global and regional needs are different, but Jerusalem cause is different,” Erdoğan said, addressing his lawmakers at parliament.
“Even if the whole world is silent, we will continue our cause of Jerusalem with the loudest voice,” the president added.
Recalling his phone conversations with the president of Palestine, the U.N. secretary-general, King of Jordan and the president of Israel, the president said he expressed Turkey’s stance on the issue. “We hope that the persecution in Jerusalem in these blessed days will come to an end,” he said.
Erdoğan cited the Israeli interventions against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank and said: “We have invited the international community to be sensitive to the injustice done to the Palestinians, and we will continue to do so.”
“We think many states and communities in the world still have difficulty in understanding the nature of this problem centering on al Quds,” he stated. If the relevant actors deliberately act against Palestinians on knowing what these incidents might cause, then there are other hidden agendas, Erdoğan indicated.
“Although even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which was established after the despicable burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, does not take care of this issue enough, we will continue to fulfill the requirements of our own history and belief,” Erdoğan said.
“It is clear that the way to effectively defend the Palestinian cause is to have a reasonable, consistent and balanced relationship with Israel,” Erdoğan explained.
Erdoğan talks to Israel’s Herzog
Erdoğan has called on Israelis and Palestinians to take the utmost care to protect the sacred sites in Jerusalem, as he expressed his sadness over the scores of Palestinians injured in incidents caused by radical Israeli groups and security forces.
He spoke with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on the phone late April 19 after the escalation between the two sites, particularly around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The conversation came as Ankara and Tel Aviv are in talks for the normalization of their ties.
“It has deeply saddened us that over 400 Palestinians have been injured and 18 people, including children, have been killed in the incidents that have been taking place in the West Bank and Al-Aqsa Mosque since the beginning of the Ramadan month,” Erdoğan told Herzog, according to a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Directorate.
“We have been further saddened by the undesired scenes that were witnessed when fanatic groups raided Al-Aqsa Mosque and interventions took place afterward following the morning prayer yesterday and the day before yesterday, as well as by the fact that the tensions spilled over to Gaza as well,” he added.
Erdoğan recalled that such undesired scenes are witnessed every year because of some radical groups in Israel, reiterating his call on Tel Aviv “not to allow provocations and threats against Al-Aqsa Mosque’s status and spirituality during this sensitive period.”
“I reiterate my call for all to take the utmost care to protect the spirituality of this sacred site and of these sacred days. As Turkey, we will continue to work for establishing peace and serenity under all circumstances,” he added.
Erdoğan: Refugees to return Syria voluntarily
Pointing to a statement of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu that Turkey mulls ending Syrian refugees’ visit to the neighboring country for Eid, Erdoğan said, “What Mr. Süleyman said is true. We are a government that embraces refugees, not expelling them.”
Turkey will ensure that the Syrians return to their country once the briquette houses in northern Syria are finished, and they will return there voluntarily, he told reporters.