Slamming the West for ignoring fanaticism that legitimizes the murder of children, President Erdoğan invited the Muslim world to raise their voices against Israel’s atrocities with a simple question: If not now, when?
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his criticism of Israel and the West amid the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict Thursday.
The Turkish leader, addressing an event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, called upon the Muslim world to take action to stop the bloodshed in Gaza. “When will Muslims raise their voice, if not now?” Erdoğan said.
The president noted that the world was facing a fanaticism “legitimizing even the killing of children.”
“Some 73% of people mercilessly killed (by Israel) are women and children. They continue bombing civilian residential areas,” he said. The president criticized the hypocritical approach to the situation. Recalling the gathering of world leaders in 2015 after the attack on the French publication Charlie Hebdo, Erdoğan said they convened when 25 people were killed but were silent after the killing of 10,000 people in Gaza.
“Western countries watch the massacre from afar. Let alone a criticism (of Israel), they cannot call for a cease-fire. Those turning a blind eye to the burning of the Quran cannot tolerate people holding Palestinian flags,” he said, referring to the brutal crackdown on demonstrators condemning Israel and expressing solidarity with Palestinians in the Western countries.
Erdoğan also said Türkiye is exerting diplomatic efforts and efforts for humanitarian aid. The president announced that first ladies from around the world will convene in Türkiye on Nov. 15 through the initiative of first lady Emine Erdoğan.
“A strong stand will be exhibited to end the pain of innocent Gazans,” the president said. He underlined that Türkiye was continuing its diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and was pursuing humanitarian efforts as well. “We delivered 10 planeloads of aid, more than 230 tons in total. We are arranging the dispatch of two civilian vessels with humanitarian aid,” he stated.
Since the Palestine-Israel conflict erupted on Oct. 7, the Turkish Presidency, government and the nation stood united to put an end to the killing of Palestinian civilians and alleviate their plight through diplomacy and humanitarian aid efforts.
Türkiye is working hard to defend the Palestinian cause as Israel mercilessly continues its killing of civilians in the Palestinian territories, from Gaza to the West Bank. Immediately after a new stage of the conflict broke out on Oct. 7, the country mobilized to put an end to what the government says are war crimes amounting to genocide targeting Palestinians. In the meantime, humanitarian aid pours in for besieged Gaza.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a staunch defender of the rights of Palestinians in the international community, has held meetings and phone calls with presidents and prime ministers of 27 countries since Oct. 7 for a solution to the issue and an urgent cease-fire. Türkiye believes a “two-state solution” with a fully independent Palestinian state is the only way to resolve the issue permanently.
Erdoğan has held talks with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He also talked to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as regional actors, from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, and King Abdullah II of Jordan. On the European front, he was in touch with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Along with Israel, Türkiye is highly critical of the Western support to Israel in its atrocities. Three days after the conflict broke out, Erdoğan said at a joint news conference with visiting Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer that it was not fair to look at the conflict solely in terms of Hamas. “It is not only a Hamas issue. There have been continuous deaths in this region for years. Water and electricity are not supplied to Gaza. Where are the human rights? According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you cannot cut off water and electricity,” Erdoğan said, slamming the blockade.
“Can you imagine the current state of hospitals in Gaza? Are they functioning? Unfortunately, no. Places of worship and hospitals are being bombed mercilessly. No one is saying anything about this. The U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier to Israel. What business does it have there? What is it coming to do? The arrival of this aircraft carrier is taking a step toward serious massacres by bombing Gaza,” he said.
“The serious massacre” came a week later, with Israel conducting an airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, killing hundreds of people. After the attack, Erdoğan called upon “all humanity” to take action to stop “this unprecedented savagery.” The next day, Türkiye declared a three-day national mourning.
On Oct. 20, Erdoğan reiterated his call to the international community to stop the attacks and support initiatives for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. He urged Israel to stop its operations “that amount to genocide.”
Day in and day out, Erdoğan has highlighted the issue on every occasion, and on Oct. 28, he appeared before a huge crowd in Istanbul for the “Grand Palestine Rally.” As he greeted the crowd waving Palestinian flags, Erdoğan lamented the West’s stand. “The Western world has mobilized its politicians and media to legitimize the massacre of children, women and innocents in Gaza. For a full 22 days, Israel has been overtly committing war crimes. We will declare you as a war criminal to the world,” Erdoğan said at the rally.
Since 2002, Turkish diplomacy has adopted a stance that recognizes the Palestinian people’s right to independence and to establish their own state. Türkiye has engaged in activities through various aid organizations to send humanitarian assistance to Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. It has endeavored to mobilize the international community in this regard.
In seeking a resolution to the Palestinian issue, Türkiye has embarked on diplomatic initiatives to contribute to the peace process. Within this framework, Türkiye has endeavored to encourage direct talks between Palestine and Israel and has supported the international recognition of Palestinians. Türkiye has maintained contact with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, supporting their efforts. On Oct. 25, 2018, the Türkiye-Palestine Joint Committee was established. The Foreign Ministers of Türkiye and Palestine co-chair the committee. The committee’s second meeting was held in Ramallah.
Türkiye has been hosting negotiations between the two political parties in Palestine, Fatah and Hamas. Following the outbreak of hostilities on Oct. 7, 2023, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan conducted numerous discussions with various counterparts, including Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
During an emergency meeting on Gaza convened by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Fidan clearly articulated Türkiye’s stance on Gaza and Palestine with the following remarks: “The Muslim world must make bold decisions and implement them with resolve until the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with full territorial integrity, with East Jerusalem as its capital, becomes a reality.”
“Until now, we have convened on urgent matters, condemned and then dispersed. To achieve our intended purpose, we must not let it end here this time.
“Today, all parties agree that the only fair and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue is a two-state solution. However, this is not enough; we need to materialize it.”
In a news conference held in Beirut, Fidan expressed Türkiye’s stance toward Israel with the following statements: “You are occupying someone’s land. You seize their home, throw them out, bring someone else and place them there, calling it ‘settlement.’ This is theft. For many years, we have seen hegemonic powers making the true nature of the problem be forgotten with the power of the media; it is time to put an end to this.
“We are working on what can be done to ensure that this conflict is not the gateway to a series of larger wars but rather the groundwork for a broader peace. Just as this war can lead to greater wars, it can also lead to a historic peace. Our president believes it is possible to create a historic peace here and is working towards this end.”
Fidan reiterated Türkiye’s offer to act as a guarantor during a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart: “We are ready to take on responsibility as a guarantor during the implementation phase of any agreement that is reached.” Fidan emphasized to his American counterpart Blinken the necessity of preventing Israel from targeting civilians in Gaza and the urgent declaration of a complete cease-fire. Türkiye and the U.S. agree on the necessity of protecting civilians in Gaza, delivering humanitarian aid and the two-state solution.
On the humanitarian front, Türkiye arranged several initiatives for assistance to Palestinians. On Oct. 22, a presidential plane carrying medicine, medical equipment and 20 medical staff left for Egypt, where the Rafah border crossing, the only gateway to the outside world for Palestinians, is located. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told Parliament on Thursday that he held talks with his Israeli counterpart for the transfer of children receiving cancer treatment in Gaza to Türkiye “as soon as possible.”
The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent and civil society organizations also mobilized to end the humanitarian drama in Gaza. The first planes carrying humanitarian aid arrived in Egypt on Oct. 13. The Turkish Red Crescent provides daily meals to 500 families through its soup kitchen in Gaza. It also launched a cash donation campaign in Türkiye to help Palestinians. Other nongovernmental organizations, from the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) to the Sadakataşı Association, also delivered meals and humanitarian aid to Gazans.
Source: Daily Sabah