Palestinian cause is top Turkish priority: Çavuşoğlu
ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
Israeli government aggression has proven a challenging test for the Palestinians, and Turkey is determined to defend the Palestinian cause, said Turkey’s foreign minister on March 3.
"In addition to Israeli attacks on the legitimate and historical rights of the Palestinian people, some other actors unilaterally and illegally aim to destabilize the region," Mevlüt Çavuşogğlu said in Istanbul at a meeting with Palestine's ambassadors to European countries.
Emphasizing that defending the Palestinian cause in the international arena is a top priority for Ankara, Çavuşoğlu offered condolences for martyred Palestinians as well as Abdulkarim al-Khatib, Palestine’s consul in Istanbul, who recently passed away.
Protecting the historical and legal status of Jerusalem is one of Turkish foreign policy’s top priorities, he said, adding: "This is a sacred cause to us. We are doing our utmost to draw the international community’s attention to the injustices in Jerusalem."
"Israel, instead of learning from previous experiences, repeats the same mistakes. While maintaining the inhumane blockade in Gaza, Israel runs a campaign that feeds on violence and aims at crippling a two-state solution," he said.
"The nation-state bill passed last year by Israel’s parliament is a fresh example reflecting this mindset. We will never allow such attempts to cast a shadow over our goal of forging a just and lasting peace through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said.
“The more Israel intensifies its illegal activities, the more we will strive for justice and peace.”
Turkey will fight faits accomplis in Jerusalem, including unilateral moves on the status of Jerusalem, which the U.S. recognized as Israel’s capital in late 2017.
He urged the recognition of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, with a capital in East Jerusalem, based on the pre-1967 borders.
Çavuşoğlu pointed out that Ankara has provided more than $460 million to Palestine since 2005 and TIKA, Turkey’s state aid agency, has carried out some 550 projects in the country.
He underlined that Ankara's main motive is to ensure that Palestine, with the backing of these projects, can grow a strong, independent and sustainable economy.
On the recently stepped up U.S. sanctions on Iran, he said: "We don't approve of these sanctions, we believe that cornering Iran like that is dangerous, and we will maintain our support for Iran."