Numerous agreements, talks, United Nations resolutions and initiatives have proved fruitless to overcome the political impasse on the Palestinian question. A renewed conflict, brought about by a Hamas attack on Israel, has reinitiated human suffering and a vicious cycle with no end in sight.
Türkiye’s proposal for a guarantorship model, on the other hand, has the potential to create a new approach and framework to the problem. The project, in which both Israel and Palestine would have a guarantor country, has not been tried before. These countries could be regional ones, such as Saudi Arabia and Türkiye, as well as Western ones, especially Scandinavian countries that are experienced in mediation processes.
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discussed the Oct. 7 attacks with several counterparts as well as on several platforms such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Ankara’s aim in proposing this formula is not to set straight lines and concrete clauses on how to implement and formulate it but to start a discussion, exchange views with other top diplomats and leaders and find the most suitable plan collectively.
Türkiye has a strategic position, historical bonds, the approval of Palestine and the status of being the ex-ruler of the geography to be one of the guarantors. Ankara has also, in recent years, stepped up its game and experience as a mediating force. The country is part of multi-layered initiatives, including mediation efforts in the field, co-chairmanship of Groups of Friends at the U.N., the OSCE and the OIC, hosting international Mediation Conferences and the “Mediation for Peace” Certificate Program.
The country, sharing a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, played a vital role in mediating the grain initiative in the Ukraine-Russia war and played an effective role in establishing channels of communication between the warring countries. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the South Caucasus was another arena where Türkiye has for years played the role of guarantor of the rights of Baku in Karabakh, stepping in whenever needed.
Through years of diplomatic and military contribution, Azerbaijan has finally regained control of its Karabakh region this year, opening the way for enhanced regional prosperity, cooperation and the start of peaceful relations with Armenia in the future. Moreover, Türkiye, along with Iran and Russia, is a guarantor in the Astana format for Syria, engaging in regular de-escalation efforts, spurring works for the political process in Syria and aiding the improvement of the humanitarian situation on the ground. Ankara has also years-long experience in the guarantorship of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Greece, the U.K. and Türkiye undertook to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, not to promote the union of Cyprus with other states or partition of the Island and got a legal right to intervene, with troops if necessary. Following a coup aimed at the annexation of Cyprus by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor of power. Since then, no such humanitarian tragedy has been repeated on the island, as seen in the civilian killings of 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1974.
Despite increasing its voice and engaging in harsh statements against the Israeli government in the past week, especially after the bombing of a hospital, diplomatic sources told me that Türkiye’s aim for guarantorship continues and should not be seen as paused or suspended. Türkiye, which had also condemned the Hamas attack that resulted in the deaths of Israeli citizens, draws a line toward criticizing the disproportionate retaliation of Israel on Gaza and its diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. Communication lines with Israel are not ruptured and Türkiye’s ambassador to Israel is continuing duty.
Türkiye believes that the most recent events and humanitarian suffering should be a wake-up call for the international community to step up efforts and find a framework to prevent a repeat of such flare-ups which cost the lives of innocent civilians in both Israel and Palestine, making it impossible to reach security and peace. The conflict must be used as an opportunity to address root causes and bring concrete results toward achieving the two-state solution, which remains unfulfilled and only in rhetoric despite being backed by the U.N. Guarantors, after establishing calm in the current war, could bring the two sides together to make progress for the political path while restraining the parties from referring to violence and bring the art of diplomacy back into the Israel-Palestine question.
Source: Daily Sabah