Ankara doing its utmost to prevent escalation of potentially region-destabilizing war, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan says while on visit to Lebanon
Alongside the risk of leading to greater wars, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine also has the potential of bringing a historic peace, Türkiye’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
“Out of this war, bigger wars could arise, but it could also lead to a historic peace. Our president (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) believes a historic peace is possible,” Hakan Fidan said at a joint news conference in Lebanon’s capital Beirut with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib.
For years, “hegemonic powers” obscured the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian issue with their media influence, Fidan asserted, underlining that it was now time to put an end to this.
“It is now time for the international community to take serious steps towards a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state,” he added.
Stressing that peace would not come to the region as long as the establishment of the state of Palestine is delayed, Fidan said:
“We’ve been warning for years. Türkiye is a strong and experienced state with a historical legacy. Please pay heed to the warnings we have been making.”
He stressed that Türkiye is doing its best to prevent the escalation of a potentially destabilizing war that could affect the entire region, including Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan.
“You (Israel) are occupying someone’s land. You’re seizing their home, throwing them out, bringing somebody (else) in, and calling them ‘settlers.’ This is called theft,” said Fidan.
“We’re discussing measures to stop the ongoing drama in Gaza and to ensure that the civilian population is not affected. We’re in close contact with regional countries, especially in delivering humanitarian aid to the population in Gaza.”
Pointing to Türkiye’s close cooperation, primarily with Egypt, he said Ankara had received multiple requests from countries seeking help in securing the release of their citizens trapped in Gaza.
“Our efforts, especially in the release of foreigners and civilians, are ongoing. Our efforts will continue for the establishment of lasting peace.”
Eleven days into the conflict with Palestinian group Hamas, Israel’s bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip has continued, with over one million people displaced – almost half of Gaza’s total population, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The fighting began when Hamas on Oct. 7 initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.
An estimated total of at least 2,848 Palestinians, including 750 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, while the death toll from such Israeli attacks in the West Bank has reached 60.
More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in the armed conflict.