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Turkey pledges full support for Palestine’s sovereignty

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu pledged full solidarity with Palestine and said Turkey will support its struggle for independence and sovereignty in a joint news conference with his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Maliki in Ramallah on Tuesday.

“Turkey stands with Palestine and Palestinians in their struggle for an independent and sovereign state,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Ankara will support this cause.

He continued by stressing that the vision for a two-state solution needs to be kept alive and said Israel’s unilateral steps in Palestine, including clashes, illegal settlements, forced evictions and demolishment, destroy the ground for peace.

The Turkish foreign minister highlighted that the Palestinian cause is a priority for the Turkish people, adding that it transcends politics since all parties in Parliament are behind it.

Regarding a two-state solution, Çavuşoğlu said it is necessary to establish a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“This is the only way the Palestinian issue can be solved,” Çavuşoğlu said.

While noting that Turkey was pleased that the violence witnessed in Gaza last year did not repeat in 2022, the foreign minister noted that Ankara was worried about the clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque as he commemorated the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Regarding Turkey-Palestine relations, Çavuşoğlu said he discussed ways to further enhance bilateral relations and strengthen Palestinian institutions and the economy with his counterpart al-Maliki.

The two ministers signed 10 agreements, which Çavuşoğlu said would enhance bilateral relations and improve living conditions for Palestinians, who face dire economic conditions. He also said the relevant Turkish and Palestinian ministers will meet at the end of June to discuss economic ties.

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation will also support education in Palestine and contribute to the Palestinian state’s investments in education.

Meanwhile, al-Maliki said Turkey’s stance on Palestine is consistent with the aspirations and cause of the Palestinian people.

Noting that relations with Turkey are “distinguished, authentic and strong,” al-Maliki said the two top diplomats discussed Israeli violations and other concerns.

On Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu will hold meetings with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, the first visit by a Turkish official in the past 15 years.

Before meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Çavuşoğlu chaired the second meeting of the Joint Committee of the Palestinian and Turkish Foreign Ministries which was established in 2010. He is also expected to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during his trip.

On Monday, the Palestinian top diplomat said Israel might oppose Turkey’s well-intentioned approach toward the concretization of a two-state solution and political negotiations with Palestine.

Al-Maliki said that Palestine welcomed the visit of a big delegation from Turkey and that agreements are expected to be signed following the second round of the Turkey-Palestine Joint Committee. Similarly, Palestine’s Ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa said that the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Israel is no concern for Palestine and highlighted that the support from the Turkish government and people for the Palestinian cause will continue.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson called Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Israel “very important.”

“This is a very important visit and part of a process to warm up relations between the two countries,” Lior Khayyat told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Ties between Turkey and Israel froze after the death of 10 civilians in an Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla carrying aid for the Gaza Strip in 2010. The two countries once again expelled their ambassadors in 2018 after another bitter falling-out and relations since remained tense.

In recent months, the two countries have been working on a rapprochement, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, holding telephone talks with his counterpart Isaac Herzog and other Israeli leaders.

Despite the recent rapprochement, Turkish officials continue to criticize Israel’s policies targeting Palestinians, including the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Turkey has said there would be no change to Ankara’s position toward the Palestinians despite the normalization efforts with Israel.

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